A foul call late in Friday night’s Milwaukee Bucks 119-112 win over the Boston Celtics helped swing the game, and Marcus Smart thinks he knows the reason for the call.
Smart got in front of a driving Giannis Antetokounmpo with 1:28 left in the game to take a charge, but he was called for a foul instead. Antetokounmpo’s layup counted, and he made a free throw, which turned the game from tied at 107 to putting Milwaukee up 110-107.
Milwaukee continued to expand its lead and ended up winning by seven.
After the game, Smart said the foul was called on him rather than on Giannis because the refs did not want to give Antetokounmpo his sixth foul of the game.
Smart says the referees told him the "excuse" the referees told him that the charge was overturned on Giannis Antetokounmpo was because he got in the lane late. He said the "real reason" was that they didn't want Giannis to foul out. "Let's call a spade a spade," he said.
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Antetokounmpo wasn’t offended by Smart’s theory. Instead, the MVP candidate praised the Celtics guard as a “great player.” Antetokounmpo praised Smart for playing hard and taking on tough assignments defensively.
Whether he was right or wrong about the reason, the foul call was a game-changer that worked significantly in Milwaukee’s favor. And once again, Smart has some issues with the refs.