Giannis Is The MVP And Ersan Is Ersan
Giannis started the game by tossing the ball off the backboard to himself and dunking it and like virtually every other night for the past seven months — since the Bucks tipped off what will go down as one of the greatest seasons in franchise history — he was the best player on the court and in the world.
He is the lead to everything all season, and the Bucks led for the entire night in Game 2.
For all the individual numbers that Giannis puts up — and they are adding up to a regular season MVP with a chance for one on top of that — he distinguishes himself as a two-way superstar who is equally as dominant on offense as defense and equally transcendent on his own and as a team player.
His star is so metamorphic and shines so brightly that it gives daily life to everyone around him — remember back in December when he led the Bucks to a win in Toronto by dragging the entire defense to him? Well he assisted on three more three-pointers in the first quarter in Game 2 to help give the Bucks an early lead that they would never come close to giving up.
The third of those three assists went to Ersan Ilyasova, the rare type of one-name player who can go just as well by either of his names.
And Ersan has been going just as well as he goes since the exact moment he started with the Bucks back in 2005. He has refined everything that he does well, but those core, distinctly Ilyasovian things remain charmingly the same.
Within the first quarter and a half of Game 2 , he did five of the Most Ersan Things there are, and they all helped the Bucks get a bit closer to the Finals.
The three ball, as an early stretch four coming out of the mid-2000s, is certainly one of his trademark plays. Here is the one from Giannis.
The offensive rebound tip-in is a classic piece of Ersan. Tipping in his own offensive rebound, better yet.
The high-arcing fadeaway is a well-known and widely-celebrated Ersan special. He will fade away on anything, and this one, on the next offensive possession after his tip-in, was a beauty.
On the next trip down, he turned his most famous trick of all, as the most prolific charge-taker in recorded NBA history, and he drew two in the first quarter and a half (and three in the game, his second straight game drawing three).
After getting Ibaka in the first quarter, he got Kawhi, on the play after hitting his fadeaway.
About a minute later, Ersan picked off a pass in the backcourt, and then, with the path open for a dunk, scooped in a finger-rolled layup high off the glass.
This was all quintessential Ersan, doing the things he has always been doing, only this time he was doing them all within half an hour or so in the biggest game of his career.