Giannis Antetokounmpo’s iconic alley-oop dunk at the end of Game 5 overshadowed what many thought was a dirty play by Chris Paul.
Paul is an all-time great and an eventual Hall of Famer, but he also has a well-earned reputation of pushing the envelope with his physicality and gamesmanship. A number of analysts and fans think he crossed the line on Antetokounmpo’s jam last night.
As you can see in the clips and still shots below, Paul reached up with both hands in vain as Giannis rose over him for the pass from Jrue Holiday. However, it’s what he did with those hands that has people talking.
The 6-foot guard can be seen extending his arms and shoving Giannis with both hands as he’s in the air. Thankfully, the contact didn’t cause the Bucks star to fall awkwardly or hit his head on the padding of the backboard.
The questionable play didn’t go unnoticed though.
OK, I’ll add to the chorus: This was dirty from Chris Paul… https://t.co/urO7a5x8z4
— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) July 18, 2021
This. dude. just. can’t. help. himself!
— Julius Hodge (@Follow24Hodge) July 18, 2021
Thank goodness Giannis is 3x larger than Chris Paul because this push is some bullshit. pic.twitter.com/RoAytV91oV
— Dieter Kurtenbach (@dieter) July 18, 2021
After seeing the replay of the lob from Jrue to Giannis multiple times, that was a very dangerous push of Giannis by Chris Paul …
— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) July 18, 2021
Chris Paul willing to push Giannis in mid-air dangerously to do anything to try and save the game. #NBAFinals
— Brian Tong (@briantong) July 18, 2021
Chris Paul’s push makes me not want him to win anymore. https://t.co/mn2wh7tWuP
— Kevín (@KevOnStage) July 18, 2021
Paul has always played with an edge to him, for better or worse. This is one of those times where it was for the latter.
He’s lucky Giannis didn’t get hurt, and that everyone was so caught up in how remarkable a dunk it was to really react to what he did.