The Boston Celtics had a hard time stopping Giannis Antetokounmpo in the team’s 119-112 loss to the Bucks, but it’s what he got away with that has us talking.
The Greek Freak did his thing. The reigning NBA MVP was the best player on the floor ending the night with 36 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists. In all, he was a problem for the Celtics to defend as he usually is, but there was one crucial play down the final minutes of the game that should’ve had him watching from the sidelines.
With 5 fouls already, Antekokounmpo appeared to have fouled out of the game on a drive to the basket in which he barreled over Marcus Smart. Initially called a charge, the referees reviewed the play and overturned it as a block on Smart.
The result, The Greek Freak was rewarded with the basket and a free throw which turned a 107-107 tie into a Bucks three-point lead. While we can’t point at that play as the sole reason for the Celtics losing the game, fans weren’t the only ones knowing exactly why a clear charge was reverse.
“Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about,” Marcus Smart said following the game, via ESPN. “It was Giannis’ sixth foul. [They] didn’t want to get him out. Let’s just call that spade a spade.”
Leave it up to Smart to tell it like it is.
However, we can’t take the Boston Celtics off the hook either as there were a few disappointments in this game.
First, the team got dug themselves a 17-2 hole to start the game. Those quick starts they seem to always give up to the Milwaukee Bucks need to stop if they hope to bypass them in the Eastern Conference.
Secondly, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who on paper were the next two best players on the court, didn’t completely show up. Brown found himself in early foul trouble and Tatum couldn’t make a basket to save his life.
He simply needs to be better.
Giannis Antekokounmpo got one on the Boston Celtics
But, back to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Obviously, he is a talent capable of taking over any game and a player who doesn’t need the extra help from the officials. The perceived charge wasn’t the only play that could’ve led to him fouling out of the game. There was also a play in which Antetokounmpo hit Celtics big man Daniel Theis in the stomach while running into him on defense.
The play was reviewed to see whether the Greek Freak committed a hostile act. That, too, went in the superstar’s favor and one has to wonder if either if not both of those plays would’ve been called fouls had not he already had 5 fouls in the game.
“They just said [Theis] didn’t get hit in the stomach,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens explained following the game. “They said they could not call a personal foul, so that must be when you go to the review to see if it’s a hostile act, I guess you can’t call a personal foul. That was what they told me. So we moved on.”
Despite Giannis Antetokounmpo getting that superstar favoritism, the Celtics still had a chance to win the game. Considering Kemba Walker was on a minutes’ restriction, Jayson Tatum not making shots, along with the slow start, the team still made it a game.
But, in this restart of the NBA season down in the Orlando bubble, that is not good enough. While the Boston Celtics can take some encouragement from this game and their ability to compete with the Bucks, they have find a way to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo consistency and don’t let the refs determine important swings in the game.
In all, we will give you this one Greek Freak, but you did get away with bloody murder.