After hard fouls to Antetokounmpo, Bucks’ Budenholzer says NBA needs to protect players
In Philadelphia, the Bucks’ Antetokounmpo took a hard foul from Joel Emnbiid, but there was little discussion of it after the game because there was a ladder on the court.
Monday night, he took another hard foul, this time from the Trail Blazers’ Jerami Grant (Justise Winslow tries to help ease the fall but maybe makes it worse).
“You guys have pool reporters, you can ask again,” he said. “The shot the other night in Philly was a significant shot, they don’t upgrade that. I just think sometimes the hits that Giannis is taking, the league needs to look at, the league needs to protect him. It’s not just him, anybody takes those hits, the league needs to protect players...
“So live it definitely looked like they wrapped him up, they went above his head, they hit him across the forehead,” Budenholzer said. “Live, it looked like a flagrant foul. Even though it’s going to the other end of the court, live and as it happened I don’t see how that’s not a flagrant one. If the arena showed replays I didn’t see the replays and I haven’t seen any replays since. But when you go high, above the shoulder and wrap someone up -- looked like a non-basketball play, looked like a clear flagrant.”
Antetokounmpo is one of the strongest and most relentless players in the league at attacking the rim, and with that teams see hard fouls as one of the only tools to slow him down. But it’s a fine line to walk between allowing that kind of physical play — which Antetokounmpo helps initiate — and saying it’s gone too far and could lead to serious injury. On this play, the Grant foul was hard but was it more clumsy or a flagrant?
Portland didn’t have much success slowing Antetokounmpo down as he dropped 37 on 16-of-24 shooting to lead the Bucks to a 119-111 win.