BOSTON -- Marcus Morris could only chuckle at first when he read about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s take on how the Boston Celtics were doing defensively against him.
“You can play to the limits of fouling,” Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports! reporter Vincent Goodwill. “They (Celtics) definitely play to the limits of (flagrant) fouling.”
Break out the Morris chuckle right … about … now!
“Flagrant-fouling him? Please,” Morris told NBC Sports following Boston’s practice on Thursday. “Borderline not fouling his ass, with him getting calls.”
In defense of Antetokounmpo, he later said that of the Celtics and them fouling, “Now, you gotta (expletive) play. You can’t complain to the refs, you gotta play.”
But hearing him describe the way Boston is fouling is odd when you consider that he literally spends more time at the free throw line than anyone in the playoffs.
During the regular season, Antetokounmpo averaged 9.5 free throw attempts per game, which ranked third in the NBA.
In the playoffs, that number is up to a league-high 11.8 attempts per game.
And in the two games against Boston, Antetokounmpo has averaged 14 free throw attempts per game.
To put that in perspective, Antetokounmpo is averaging just 3.5 fewer free throw attempts per game than the entire Celtics team in this series.
Morris acknowledges that the Celtics have tried to be physical with Antetokounmpo, which he says isn’t all that different than their approach defensively against him and any other upper-echelon player in the NBA.
That’s why when he saw Antetokounmpo’s comments, he thought it was funny.
“It threw me off,” Morris said. “I didn’t see it like that. I’m like, 'Bro, you getting all the calls; All of them.'
“You can’t even,” Morris said before making a blowing motion in the air, “it’s a foul.”
Morris added, “That just shows we’re probably getting to him by now. He’s a great player; he’s been playing well. Probably MVP, if not number two.”
But make no mistake about it.
Morris and the Celtics have no plans on changing the way they defend him.
“I guess we’ll continue, borderline flagrant-foul him or whatever he calls it, I guess,” Morris said.
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