The Game 1 NBA Finals moment everyone will remember is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s chase-down block of Mikal Bridges near the end of the first half. It was an explosive, athletic play that showed Antetokounmpo’s comfort on a knee that was hyperextended just a week prior. However, the moment that sticks out to me is a simple one in the first quarter.
With 1:32 left to go in the first quarter, Antetokounmpo is fed the ball in the high post with DeAndre Ayton on him. The two-time MVP pivots to face Ayton and takes a couple dribbles to slowly work his way toward the low post. In a flash he puts the ball on the ground and attacks the hoop from the baseline side, with Ayton guarding him on his right shoulder. Ayton and Antetokounmpo make contact in the restricted area and with one bump of the shoulder Ayton finds himself pushed back foot away and the Greek Freak uses the space to throw it down for what would be one of his six field goals that night.
Antetokounmpo driving and finishing on someone is not incredibly shocking news, as it happens all the time, but in this moment matters because this is a matchup that Milwaukee has an opportunity to exploit in the Finals. However, as the game went on it was apparent that was not going to happen. The Bucks finished the game just 13-of-21 at the rim -- an extremely low shooting percentage for any team, but especially for a team with Antetokounmpo on the floor. In two regular season games against Phoenix, Milwaukee attempted 63 shots within four feet of the basket and shot 74.6% from that area of the floor. The path to a victory in this series goes through the restricted area for the Bucks, and course correction tonight means a more aggressive Antetokounmpo from that area of the floor.