Giannis Antetokounmpo, as his nickname suggests, is a freak of nature. At 6’11 with arms that hang at his knees and the dexterity and explosiveness of a player six inches shorter, he’s usually the one giving out poster dunks as opposed to receiving them. During Tuesday’s Eurobasket Quarterfinal between Greece and Spain, though, Nikola Mirotic decided to flip the script.
The Chicago Bulls’ sweet-shooting forward obviously got the best of his Milwaukee Bucks counterpart on this facial jam. Mirotic is hardly an athlete on the level of Antetokounmpo, but is exceptionally mobile for a power forward nonetheless. Tom Thibodeau didn’t try to play him on the wing for stretches last season by accident; the Montenegrin import can move for a player who stands 6’10.
The Greek Freak, however, is of an entirely different breed. Look how much ground he’s forced to make up as the sequence develops just in order to meet Mirotic at the rim.
Giannis is several feet behind the ball as Mirotic makes his pass, not to mention hovering just inside the opposite sideline on the wrong side of the basket, yet it almost doesn’t matter. If Spain was just a quarter-step slower here, Antetokounmpo might be the winner of his aerial exchange with Mirotic. Wild.
But not even the Grecian Gumby could quite recover entirely, leading to Mirotic’s jam and his typically fiery stare-down to follow. This isn’t the only battle from which Spain emerged victorious on Tuesday, either. Led by 27 points and nine rebounders from the utterly dominant Pau Gasol, the Spanish beat the Greeks 73-71 to advance to the Eurobasket Semifinals.