Giannis Antetokounmpo was involved in two controversial calls during Friday's Milwaukee Bucks win over the Boston Celtics. The first involved a whistle for a "hostile act" that was later overturned, and the second was a charge that was later turned into a block on Marcus Smart. Both fouls would have given Antetokounmpo six for the game, and therefore knocked him out. They didn't, and the Bucks pulled away late in the fourth quarter.
Marcus Smart disagreed with the calls, and blatantly blamed poor officiating for the result. "Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about," Smart said. "It was Giannis' sixth foul. [They] didn't want to get him out. Let's just call that spade a spade." As a result of his comments, the NBA has now fined Smart $15,000, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. It is the first fine incurred by any player in the Disney bubble. Antetokounmpo praised Smart after the game.
"I think he's a great player. One thing I respect about him is that he's the first guy on the floor, he trusts his teammates, he plays hard, he guards the best player. So, that's what I told him at the end of the game. I said, 'I respect you, I respect you play hard and I just play hard.' There's nothing more to that. I'm not coming at you, that's not my personality. I just try to stay focused, try to help my team win, and I know that 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 because he's trying to get me out of my game. I understand. When I sit down and I calm down, I look back and I understand what he's trying to do."
The Bucks will be the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, and the Celtics, after losing on Friday, lead the Miami Heat by only one game in the standings for the No. 3 seed. If Miami moves up, Boston would fall to No. 4, setting up a potential second-round matchup between them and the Bucks. All three games between Milwaukee and Boston were decided by single digits this season, and the Celtics match up fairly well against the NBA's best team on paper. This controversy would only add a layer of animosity to what would be a very exciting series.