Celtics

Giannis Antetokounmpo's qualms with officiating prove legitimate

Giannis Antetokounmpo's qualms with officiating prove legitimate

BOSTON – Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo was not happy with some of the calls made in Boston’s 113-107 Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

After the NBA released its two-minute report on the game, the Greek Freak may have had a point. 

In the fourth quarter with 1:33 to play, an offensive foul drawn by Boston’s Marcus Morris against Antetokounmpo was later determined to be an “incorrect call,” according to the report which indicated that Morris didn’t establish himself in “legal guarding position at the time of contact.”

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With 1:22 to play in the fourth, Antetokounmpo took more than 10 seconds to shoot his free throws, a violation that was not called and therefore determined to be an “incorrect non-call.” It was also determined that he took too long when he shot free throws with 53.6 and 14.8 seconds, respectively, to play in overtime. 

And with 15.8 seconds to play in the overtime period, Al Horford made contact with Antetokounmpo’s arm which affected his SQBR (Speed, Quickness, Balance, Rhythm) but no call was made. That, according to the two-minute report, was later ruled an “incorrect non-call.”

With only 13.0 seconds to play in overtime, Antetokounmpo was whistled for his sixth personal foul while trying to get a rebound from Boston’s Terry Rozier. The two-minute report indicates that Antetokounmpo made “marginal contact” with Rozier before getting his hands on the ball. That was ruled an “incorrect call,” with the right call, according to the two-minute report should have been a jump ball between Rozier and Antetokounmpo.

There wouldn’t have been a sixth foul to call if an earlier offensive foul against Antetokounmpo that was later ruled an “incorrect call,” had not been made.

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Can the Celtics seal the deal on the road?

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Can the Celtics seal the deal on the road?

MILWAUKEE – This season has been one filled with lessons for the Boston Celtics, so why should tonight be any different?

These Celtics have seen their share of hostile crowds, but an elimination game on the road will be unlike any game many of the players have experienced before in their still-young NBA careers.One of the pillars of road success in elimination games is keeping the crowd from being a factor which is a lot easier said than done.

“Just keep moving the ball and not feeding into the crowd and things like that,” said Boston’s Marcus Morris. “If we stick together and continue to do the game plan, I think we’ll win.”

Marcus Smart added, “staying disciplined. They’re gonna go on a big run. They’re gonna have the crowd behind them; they’re gonna be amped up. This is win or go home for them. So, we’re gonna get their best shot. We have to stay disciplined. When they go on those runs, we can’t come down and take a bad shot or have a turnover. We have to come down, make a move and make them work.”

Here are five under the radar storylines heading into tonight’s Game 6 matchup between Boston and Milwaukee.

 

JAYLEN BROWN

Marcus Smart has earned a considerable amount of credit for how much better the Celtics have been seen since he returned to the lineup prior to Game 5.

But Jaylen Brown has also been a key to Boston entering tonight’s Game 6 matchup with a chance to end the series.

Indeed, the Celtics have been a different kind of team when Brown has gone to the bench to get a breather.

Boston’s on-the-court offensive rating when Brown is on the court is 113.5 When he’s off, it plummets to 84.5. And defensively, Boston’s defensive rating with Brown is 103.5, and 124.0 without him. In addition, Boston is +8.8 when he’s on the floor, and -8.6 when he’s off.

THE 3-POINT SHOT

We saw all season just how important the 3-point shot was to the Boston Celtics. The shot’s value remains just as high now to the Green Team. In fact, it is one of the more telling aspects of their play that tips you off to whether they’re playing. In Boston’s three wins, the Celtics have taken more 3’s than the Bucks – a trend Boston wants to bring on the road.

ALMOST COMPLETE

This is the fourth time these two have met in the playoffs with Boston jumping out to a 2-0 series lead. In the previous three, Boston won in seven games (1987 Eastern Conference semis), four games (1996 Eastern Conference semis) and five games (1984 Eastern Conference finals). So a win tonight for Boston in Game 6 would complete the up 2-zip on the Bucks cycle.

BOTH TEAMS, TO THE POINT

Five games into this series and there has been very little separation between these two teams in several areas of play which includes scoring. Boston has scored a total of 519 points. And the Bucks? They are right there, having tallied a total of 520 points.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

Here are a few historical nuggets to munch on before tip-off tonight. Boston is 35-0 in playoff series that began with them winning Games 1 and 2. Meanwhile, the Bucks are 0-13 when they fell behind 2-0 in a playoff series. And when it comes to Game 6s, Boston has a 31-29 record all-time.

 

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Smart out of Celtics' Game 6 starting lineup, Ojeleye in

Smart out of Celtics' Game 6 starting lineup, Ojeleye in

MILWAUKEE— Brad Stevens is not averse to shaking up the Boston Celtics starting lineup, regardless of where a playoff series may stand.

And as eager as it may be for some to see Marcus Smart roaming the floor with the first unit in tonight’s close-out game against Milwaukee, both Smart and Stevens shot the idea down quickly.

“We haven’t talked about (me starting),” said Smart, who returned to the lineup for Game 5 following a right thumb injury that sidelined him for almost six weeks. “We actually like our starting lineup.”

Boston inserted rookie Semi Ojeleye into the starting lineup for Boston’s 92-87 Game 5 win, in place of Aron Baynes.

“Semi Ojeleye has been doing a great job on Giannis (Antetokounmpo). He matches up really well,” Smart said. “When you got somebody his size, his determination, that’s good for us. We like our matchups, the way we are to starting off the game and me coming off, bringing that energy off the bench.”

Stevens was more succinct when asked if he was considering inserting Smart into the starting lineup.

“No,” Stevens said.

While there is no mistaking the huge impact that Smart’s return for Game 5 had after missing almost six weeks with a right thumb injury, Stevens usually makes changes when there’s an area in which the Celtics need to address immediately.

In the first round of the playoffs last season against Chicago, Boston needed a jolt offensively with the first unit. 

In came Gerald Green who helped Boston win four straight over the Bulls after falling behind 2-0 in the series. 

Boston, up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, are in a much different place right now.

They come into tonight’s Game 6 matchup coming off their best defensive performance of this series.

And while Smart played a major role in that happening, Boston’s Game 5 win was a victory fueled by an across-the-board defensive effort.

Smart’s impact will be felt whether he’s starting or not.

Plus, inserting him at this point for Ojeleye or Terry Rozier, is a risk that based on where this series is and how Boston is playing, isn’t worth taking.

Rozier hasn’t been nearly as good on the road in this series as he has been at the TD Garden.

But having him in the starting lineup keeps the Bucks more honest defensively, well aware that Rozier is a better shooter and scorer than Smart.

Plus, benching Rozier at this point in the series would be a major blow to his growing confidence which is part of why he has had more strong games in his role as a starter for Kyrie Irving (left knee recovery), than weak ones.

One of the keys for Boston will be to get off to a better start, something that Smart can impact either as a starter or getting the call early off the bench.

In Boston’s Game 3 loss, Milwaukee began the game with a 16-6 run. And in Game 4, the Bucks closed out the first quarter with a 19-5 run before holding on for a two-point win.

Ultimately, Game 6 will be determined by which team does the better job down the stretch.

And for the Celtics, that usually involves Smart being on the floor.

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