The highlight of the Bucks’ win over the Clippers on Sunday afternoon is certainly Giannis Antetokounmpo’s poster dunk with 10 seconds to play.
But that wasn’t the most important play. Far from it.
If the Bucks are going to win an NBA Championship, it’ll be won with stops, not dunks.
That may sound nuts in this new era of basketball where teams are regularly eclipsing 100 points by the start of the 4th quarter, but it’s true.
You can’t shut teams down in this league that now resembles a real-life version of NBA Jam.
But you have to, have to, have to come up with timely stops.
That’s exactly what the Bucks did on Sunday.
Giannis and company hosted the Clippers, who brought their 6th ranked offense and 5th ranked defense into Fiserv Forum.
Leading by 4 with 4 minutes to play, the Clippers never scored again.
The Bucks finished the game on a 9-0 run.
Curtains. Game. Blouses.
The Clippers final 7 shots were all contested jumpers or 3’s from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
No easy looks, no layups, no dunks.
It’s a credit to Mike Budenholzer and the Bucks’ defense for forcing the Clippers into difficult looks.
The Bucks weren’t perfect defensively on Sunday.
But they got stops when it mattered most.
Dunks are fun, but stops are the blueprint for what needs to happen in June.