“The replay center said I was late and it was a block. Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about. Giannis has six fouls. They didn’t want to get him out. Let’s just call a spade a spade. That’s just what it is.”
Today we learned the pricetag for saying the referees intentionally changed a call to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo in a game is $15,000.
That was the accusation Boston’s Marcus Smart leveled Friday night after the Bucks beat the Celtics behind Antetokounmpo’s 36 points. Saturday the league fined Smart $15,000 for “public criticism of the officiating.”
Smart has been around the league long enough to know the fine was coming the second those words came out of his mouth.
The play in question happened with 1:28 left, and the Bucks and Celtics tied 107-107. Antetokounmpo drove the lane, Marcus Smart tried to slide in front of him to draw the charge — and he got the call. It was Antetokounmpo’s sixth foul and would have sent him out of the game. But then the officials reviewed the play and changed the charging call to a block.
The referees got the call right. In the words of the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report from the game, “Smart was not established in a legal guarding position at the time of Antetokounmpo’s gather on the driving shot attempt.” Put more plainly, Smart’s feet were on the restricted area arc when Antetokounmpo made his jump, then while the Greek Freak was airborne Smart moved his foot out of the restricted area. That’s a block.