Some postgame complaining about controversial calls proved costly for Marcus Smart.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 1, 2020
The comments concerned Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo in particular, who benefited from some controversial calls in the game’s final minutes. One charge call that got turned into a blocking foul on Smart prompted the guard to speculate the officials were protecting Antetokounmpo, who had five fouls at the time, from fouling out.
Marcus Smart on the charge being overturned: “The excuse was I was late on the charge. ... Quite frankly I think we all know what was about. Giannis (would have had) six fouls.”
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) August 1, 2020
The Bucks and Celtics had been tied at the time of the call. The charge/block reversal created an and-1 for Antetokounmpo, which gave the Bucks a lead they never relinquished on their way to a 119-112 win.
Here’s why Marcus Smart was mad
The call in question started with Antetokounmpo driving to the basket from the top of the perimeter. After maneuvering around Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis, Antetokounmpo jumped through the paint for a layup. At that point, Smart stepped up to defend Antetokounmpo in the only way he really could: going for the charge call.
Smart initially got the charge call he was looking for, but the officials determined Smart had committed a blocking foul after a review.
There didn’t seem to be much of a question over whether Smart had been in position in time. Instead, it was his placement around the restricted area that might have caused the officials to call a foul on Smart. Smart’s left foot clearly started in the restricted area, then got pulled out as Antetokounmpo made contact.
Giannis again almost fouls out. Refs reviewing. Looks like a blocking foul. pic.twitter.com/HDMlnptEM7
— Mich M. (@MirazNBA) August 1, 2020
That wasn’t enough to convince the Celtics and their fans that Antetokounmpo got away with a charge. The MVP candidate eventually finished the game with 36 points on 14-of-20 shooting, 15 rebounds and seven assists.
Smart wasn’t even the only Celtic to imply the refs had favored Antetokounmpo after the game.
— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) August 1, 2020
More from Yahoo Sports: