The Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks clashed in one of the best games the bubble could give us. Both teams are favorites to win the East this season and they showed why on Friday night, giving fans a terrific game.
It was decided in the last minutes of the game and things could’ve been different for both teams if it wasn’t for the referees. With 2.30 minutes left on the clock, Giannis Antetokounmpo appeared to foul C’s big man Daniel Theis during a screen, but a review ruled it wasn’t a “hostile act.”
Refs didn’t call a foul on Giannis on this play, would have been his sixth pic.twitter.com/KJ3CzvEgbH
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 1, 2020
Of course, that decision didn’t please anybody on the Celtics, especially Marcus Smart, who was furious with the decision and the benefits the refs gave to Giannis and the Bucks. That foul would’ve ended the game for Giannis, who had five at the moment. Smart wasn’t having any of that and he ‘explained’ why the refs made that decision.
“The excuse was I was late on the charge. The replay center said I was late and it was a block,” Smart said after the game. “Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about. Giannis has six fouls. They didn’t want to get him out. Let’s just call a spade a spade. That’s just what it is.”
“I think we all know what that was about… Giannis has 6 fouls. They don’t want to get him out.”
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) August 1, 2020
Reporters informed Giannis about Smart’s comment but the Greek Freak didn’t care too much about it. He said that was his opinion and praised Smart and his game instead.
“I know he’s going to try to talk all the time and get me out of my game and I respect that he’s doing that. When I sit down and calm down, I look back and understand what he’s trying to do. I don’t think he’s a bad person. I feel like he was moving in the last play. But either way, if it was a charge or if it was not a charge I’m happy that we got the win and I’ll learn from the play.”
Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo on Celtics’ Marcus Smart: “I respect him. He’s the first guy on the floor. Cheers his teammates. Plays hard. Guards the best player… I know he’s going to talk, talk all the time and get me out of my game. … I don’t think he’s a bad person.” pic.twitter.com/1bBRFjCvDU
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 1, 2020
Informed of Marcus Smart’s postgame comments about Giannis staying in the game because the refs didn’t want him to foul out, Giannis said that’s his opinion and then went on to praise Smart and speak at length about how much he respects him and his game.
— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) August 1, 2020
In the end, the Bucks won the game, 119-112, behind Giannis’ 36 points. Smart dropped 23 off the bench for the Celtics, while Jayson Tatum only scored 5 points on 2-18 from the field.
There are big chances that these two face each other in the postseason and the animosity won’t change a little. Even Jaylen Brown took a shot at Giannis and the refs with an Instagram story, showing his discontent with the officiating of the game.