INDIANAPOLIS – Milwaukee Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin was ejected from the game against the Indiana Pacers at the 7-minute, 52-second mark of the third quarter after receiving back-to-back technical fouls.
Griffin got heated at the officiating crew after Cameron Payne was sent to the court on a drive and Giannis Antetokounmpo was trying to muscle up a basket after pulling down an offensive rebound. Antetokounmpo ultimately dunked the ball, but Griffin had said enough to get tossed.
"The first technical foul was for an overt reaction to a non-call on Giannis Antetokounmpo," crew chief Kevin Cutler said after the game in a pool report. "The second was for disrespecting an official with profanity and per rule, two technical fouls, that is an automatic ejection."
Griffin said, "We just had a difference of opinions. It was really physical. I thought Giannis was getting hit quite a bit and I voiced my opinion. Next time I'll do it (in) a little bit more delicate way."
It is the first ejection of Griffin's career as a head coach. Assistant coach Joe Prunty took over the head coaching duties from there.
On Wednesday night Antetokounmpo was ejected against Detroit after receiving two technical fouls, and Griffin said he needed to do a better job of advocating for his players.
"I do feel responsible, at times, just to voice it," Griffin said after the Pacers game. "Obviously your voice is choice and you have to be mindful of that. But it is my responsibility to just make sure that he's protected out there. There was a couple hard fouls on him. One one was almost back-to-back, one where it was kind of wrapped around his back, his neck. And hen the next one is was like two-hand push in the back. So, just wanted to protect him out there, that's all.
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Antetokounmpo said he and Griffin spoke about after the Pistons game about his ejection, and the Bucks star appreciated his coach's willingness to voice his opinion for his players.
"People that have my back one time, I have their back a thousand times," Antetokounmpo said. "As a player it's always good to feel like your coach have your back.
"I know he has my back. And I try my best to have his back, too. I believe, I believe – I don't know how many free throws I shot today – but I; you guys watch the game. I believe there's way more contact out there than the one I get called for.
"Sometimes I feel like guys get to go to the free throw line for way less contact than I get. Sometimes guys pull me. Sometimes I don't even feel it, that's the crazy part. I will go and watch the film and I'm like, this guy is literally pulling my body back. But I don't flop. I try to power through, try to lead the league in 'and-one's.'
"So at the end of the day the coaching staff, the head coach 'Griff,' sees stuff that he's like 'you guys should call that.' Tonight obviously it was unfortunate that he got ejected. We needed him. But at the end of the day, again, I appreciate that the has my back. Not just my back, but my teammate's back, the team's back. And we gonna do our best to have his back too when he needs us the most."
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bucks head coach Adrian Griffin ejected in loss to Indiana Pacers