By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart believes that the referees took back a decision to call Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo with an offensive foul late in the game between the two teams so that the reigning MVP would remain in the match. The Bucks won 119 – 112. The NBA fined him $15,000 for his comments.
“Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about. It was Giannis’ sixth foul. [They] didn’t want to get him out. Let’s just call that spade a spade,” Smart said after the match in a zoom call.
The overturned call in question took place with 84 seconds left to play and the game tied at 107. After dribbling his way out of Jayson Tatum’s defense, Antetokounmpo, who had five fouls at that moment, drove to the basket with one of his classic Eurostep moves and scored the layup while falling on Smart. The referees called the Greek Freak with the charging foul but then overturned their decision.
Charge. I love Marcus Smart. Want him in my foxhole every day. pic.twitter.com/PL5qy9Y0W3
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 1, 2020
“The excuse was I was late on drawing the charge,” Smart said on the referees’ decision to reverse the call.
Antetokounmpo, who finished the match with 36 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists, had the best to say about Smart and his mentality.
“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.”