The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Boston Celtics 103-101 in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way, putting up a stat line of 42 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. He also added two blocks and two steals. The game was not without drama, and the referees were at the center of it. If one was paying attention to the Celtics and their fans after the game, one would have surmised that Milwaukee was the benefactor of many blown calls.
Really cool that the Celtics lost by two when the refs missed a clear goaltend by Giannis that ABC displayed as a highlight
— Cousin DPOY (not notable) (@AndrewDoxy) May 7, 2022
How is this a Foul on Grant Williams???? pic.twitter.com/CtT0XjuVPA
— 𝓝𝓲𝓬𝓴 (@Embiid_prodzz) May 7, 2022
The #Celtics almost won a game on the road, with their best player stinking and the refs giving it to Milwaukee. Feel good about the series.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) May 7, 2022
The fact of the matter is, though, when one looks at the numbers, it is clear that the Bucks are not getting any beneficial calls. In fact, the numbers (in terms of fouls), favor the Celtics.
Free Throw Disparity in the Bucks vs Celtics Series
The Boston Celtics (and their fans) may claim that the Bucks get all the calls. However, the numbers simply do not support that stance. For instance, Boston has attempted 69 free throws through the series’ first three games. Milwaukee has attempted 61.
The disparity was on greater display in Game Three, a game which was played in Milwaukee. In this game, Boston attempted 34 free throws. Milwaukee attempted 17, exactly half the amount Boston had. If this was not enough, Milwaukee did not attempt a single free throw in the final 16:40 of the game. This means they shot no free throws in the fourth quarter at all. During that same time frame, Boston attempted 17 free throws.
Celtics Coach Ime Udoka: “I gotta teach my guys to flop more”
That’s right. A head coach of a professional basketball team said he wants his guys to flop more.
Celtics coach Ime Udoka wasn't too happy with some of the late calls 👀
"Got to teach my guys to flop a little more." pic.twitter.com/2PO2FKKCop
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@sportingnews) May 7, 2022
Now, of course, one would have to assume he was being sarcastic and taking a shot at the officials. The problem, at least from the perspective of the Bucks, is that Boston is already flopping a great deal. Here are some clips of just a few of their flops during this series.
Rewatched the game and Marcus Smart is a joke
— Tony Clements (@TonyCMKE) May 1, 2022
These clowns are whining for a Marcus Smart flop on this play 😂 Soft, whiny ass fans of a whiny flopping ass team
— sqr (@squaresense) May 8, 2022
— Tony Clements (@TonyCMKE) May 7, 2022
Notice that in all the clips above, the culprit of these flops is Marcus Smart, the Defensive Player of the Year.
Giannis Leads the NBA in Offensive Fouls
Since 2018, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been called for more offensive fouls than any other player in the NBA. In fact, he’s been called for more than the next two most-called players combined.
Most charges committed since 2018 (regular season + playoffs):
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo – 155
2. Julius Randle – 71
3. Pascal Siakam – 69
4. James Harden – 61
5. Karl-Anthony Towns – 59
But Giannis gets away with everything right?
— Nathan Marzion (@nathanmarzion) May 8, 2022
Not only is this true, but Giannis has also been called for eight offensive fouls so far in the playoffs. The next closest player has been called four times.
The “referees favor the Bucks” narrative needs to stop. It’s simply not true.
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