Marcus Smart says NBA made sure Giannis Antetokounmpo wouldn’t foul out vs. Celtics
Marcus Smart tries to draw the charge on Giannis. Was he still in the restricted area, though? (via @ESPN) pic.twitter.com/fzalEI0OyW— Brady Gardner (@BradyDGardner) August 1, 2020The three-point play gave Milwaukee a three-point lead, and the East’s top team went on to win its Florida bubble opener.MORE: NBA playoff bracketSmart wasn’t buying the reason for the overturn.”The excuse was I was late on the charge,” Smart said. “They said the (NBA) Replay Center said I was late and it was a block. Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about: Giannis had six fouls and they didn’t want to get him out. Just call that spade a spade and 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.”Marcus Smart discusses his foul at the end of the 4th quarter. #Celtics pic.twitter.com/57LZysT7oJ— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) August 1, 2020A minute before that review, Antetokounmpo was spared a DQ after appearing to strike Daniel Theis below the belt. The officials ruled after a review that he didn’t commit a hostile act. The Bucks had their MVP on the floor in crunch time Friday night against the Celtics. One Celtics player said the referees wanted it that way and acted accordingly.Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo was playing with five fouls when he jumped into Boston’s Marcus Smart in the lane in the fourth quarter. Antetokounmpo was first called for a charge that would have sent him the bench, only for the call to be changed to a block and an and-one on video review. Giannis had 7 fouls. First one, hits Theis in the groin/stomach, ref stops play, looks it over, and doesn’t call it a foul. A minute later, Smart takes a charge on Giannis, refs look it over and overturned it for an and one🙃🤦🏻♂️ great game, but momentum changed after these calls. pic.twitter.com/EAkgbmNdjE— Isaac Potter (@impotter14) August 1, 2020Officiating crew chief James Capers told a pool reporter that the contact was incidental and thus not a foul. He also said video showed Antetokounmpo’s hand touched Theis on the belt line, not in the groin.NBA Referee James Capers Comments to a pool reporter after tonight’s Celtics-Bucks game: pic.twitter.com/vbIPwg7ZOa— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) August 1, 2020It must be noted that one of Antetokounmpo’s called fouls was this offensive foul that Smart sold earlier in the game.Marcus Smart pretends Giannis kicked him in the nuts to get the call pic.twitter.com/WoOsRwhz9G— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) August 1, 2020But Smart and the Celtics, obviously, aren’t going to cop to that. They just think Giannis got premeditated preferential treatment from the league when it mattered.