This Block By Giannis Is As Impressive A Defensive Play You'll Ever See

Slow motion replays are a gift and a curse. They've become a curse in the sense that they've slowed down games, really across all sports, via reviews and challenges. It remains a gift for its intended purpose: cool as fuck, impossible to comprehend plays like this block by Giannis last night. In order to really appreciate a highlight like this I think you have to toggle back and forth between full speed and slow motion to really appreciate how absurd this block was.

The ball is already en route to Saddiq Bey as Giannis is turning around in transition. Bey then dribbles once, never breaks stride, and gathers for a layup. Giannis had to leave his man in the corner, recover to the paint as quick as he can, and then rise up to alter the shot. All of that is enough to garner a "good effort" in the film room the next day. A hard foul to force two free throws is the most likely outcome here. An uncontested dunk is what the Celtics would give up in this same situation. But what makes Giannis the best player in the world is how he was able to avoid shattering his forearm on the rim trying to block this ball.

I don't know I've ever seen this. Bey did everything right here. He used the rim to ward off the defender, a move that would work against 99% of basketball players throughout history. This is where slow motion becomes simultaneously a gift and a curse. It's a gift because we're able to watch Giannis turn into a Gumby-esque human being, turn his own bones into rubber, maneuver around the rim and get the block. It's a curse because he makes it look so easy you almost lose sight of how absurd of a play this really is. This isn't normal. So many guys, even at the professional level, attempt to block shots by simply jumping as high as they can and swinging their arms violently. Sometimes they get ball, most of the time they hack for a foul. Giannis jumping, nay, floating with Bey, holding his arm straight up in anticipation of Bey's release, mirroring his every move, and reacting in such a small amount of time to get even a finger on this ball is as impressive a defensive play as you'll see.