The Milwaukee Bucks defeated Boston Celtics in their first official match after more than four and a half months. The final result was 119-112 for the league-leading team, but we can’t say that their win didn’t have some controversial moments.
The Celtics are more than unhappy with the way the referees handled this contest, and they are specifically targeting their criteria on Giannis Antetokounmpo. According to their words, the current NBA MVP had a lot of credit, and on several occasions, the refs didn’t call for fouls he committed.
One such situation took place at 1:28 until the end, when they first called an offensive foul on him, only to overturn that decision moments later. If it weren’t for that action, Giannis would have to leave the game because of six fouls. Now, some believe that they didn’t want to see him foul-out.
That is exactly what Marcus Smart stated after the match. Smart was the one who stood in front Giannis when the refs called for a charge.
“Quite frankly, I think we know all what that was all about. Giannis’ sixth foul and they didn’t want to get him out,” Smart said. “Let’s just call that spade a spade, and that’s just what it is.”
The Bucks’ leader scored two points, and after the overturned call, he had and-one free throw, which he made, lifting the Milwaukee to 112-109. Celtics were frustrated because of what happened, and they didn’t reply on the other end. Khris Middleton used all that to kill their morale with a three-pointer and seal the game.
The All-Star forward had 18 points on the night and was backing up Giannis very well throughout the match.
Milwaukee had a lead most of the time, but the Celtics entered a thrilling finish in the late period. Nobody saw that coming after Bucks’ brilliant start, when they had a 17-2 lead. Later on, they kept the distance, but C’s were stubborn in their intention to come back.
Giannis had 36 points and was superb when needed the most. He made 14 of his 20 attempts from the field, adding 15 rebounds and seven assists. Regarding the controversial call, he believes that it was the right decision because Smart didn’t stand still.
“I felt like he was moving on the last play but either way if it was a charge, if it was not a charge, I’m happy that we got the win and I’ll learn from the play,” Antetokounmpo said.
Brook Lopez scored 14 points and had six blocks, and Donte DiVincenzo had 10.
"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
Among the Celtics, Smart had the team-high with 23 points. Jaylen Brown one fewer, and Gordon Hayward 17 with 9 boards and six assists. Kemba scored 16 but in just 19 minutes, because Stevens didn’t want to risk anything due to his sore knee. Daniel Theis had a double-double with 13 buckets and 12 boards.
Jayson Tatum was below every standard. The Celtics’ forward ended the night with just five points, shooting 2-for-18 from the field, not being able to contribute on offense in any way.
“We did a lot more good than bad. But we need to play better to beat these guys. They’re really good,” said Stevens, following the game.
Up next, we have the Celtics facing the Portland Trail Blazers, while Milwaukee plays against the Houston Rockets. Both of these teams posted wins tonight, and both were after overtimes.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.