Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected for late hit on Bulls' Mike Dunleavy
The Milwaukee Bucks entered the NBA postseason with many fans excited to see the playoff debut of amazingly talented 20-year-old forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Unfortunately, it looks as if the budding star is leaving the first round under shameful circumstances.
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Already down big to the Bulls in the second quarter, the Bucks lost Antetokounmpo for the rest of Game 6 (and likely a few more games) following a clear-cut ejection. With the Bulls up 58-28 with roughly 1:35 remaining in the first half, Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy launched and made a three-pointer from the left wing. As Dunleavy finished his follow-through, Antetokounmpo rushed at him and delivered a check to the midsection to send him to the floor. Take a look:
Referees check replays to confirm that the foul did in fact have more in common with a late hit on a quarterback than a standard basketball play. Giannis received a flagrant-2 foul, triggering an automatic ejection. It is also likely that Antetokoumpo will see further suspension for the play, although it would have to be served whenever he is healthy and available next season.
The play requires some context, because Dunleavy did engage in some extracurricular activity with two Bucks earlier in the game. The most apparent was a push near the neck to send Antetokounmpo to the floor on the previous possession during a missed three-pointer from Ersan Ilyasova. He also delivered a shot near the face of Michael Carter-Williams to knock him down on a layup attempt in the first quarter:
Carter-Wiliams went to the locker room to receive attention and missed much of the first quarter before returning to the game. Such plays often earn flagrant-1 fouls in today's NBA, but they are usually not responded to with full-on tackles. It's most likely that Antetokounmpo was expressing his frustration with an incredibly one-sided game that should end a series that has otherwise been fairly competitive.
Dunleavy made his additional free throw to give the Bulls a 62-28 lead. They entered the halftime break up 65-33, nearly doubling up the host Bucks in a thoroughly dominant first half.
Yet the Bucks and Dunleavy continued to tussle in the second half even if the result was never in question. Roughly halfway through the third quarter, Dunleavy got his hand up near the throat of Carter-Williams again, causing retaliation from the second-year point guard in the form of this swim move:
Carter-Williams got hit with a technical immediately but was not assessed a flagrant upon review. Mercifully, this was the final incident before the Bulls finished off their 120-66 victory to win the series 4-2.
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Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter!