MILWAUKEE, Wis. On Saturday afternoon, every Boston Celtics player inside Fiserv Forum was stunned.

With time running down and the Celtics down by three points, Boston’s Jaylen Brown sent the ball to Marcus Smart on the outside. Smart attempted to take a shot right away, but Milwaukee Bucks player Jrue Holiday gave him no room. Holiday’s arm smashed across Smart’s and the whistle blew immediately.


The foul was called on the floor instead of a three-shot foul, much to the delight of the majority of the 17,736 in attendance and the chagrin of everyone in the Celtics traveling party. Milwaukee won 103-101 and took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series after Smart made the first free throw and intentionally missed the second to give Boston another chance. None of the three putbacks went in, giving Milwaukee a 2-1 series lead.

Ime Udoka, Boston’s coach, stated unequivocally that the call was missed

When queried about the rationale, Udoka stated that Smart was sweeping his arms. “I saw it in person, but I also saw it on the film I just watched,” Udoka explained. “It’s a gamble. He’s about to take a shot. On his way up, he was fouled. Call was dropped.”

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When Smart was asked about the call after the game, he polled every reporter in the room for their thoughts. “I mean, that’s all I gotta say,” Smart added after receiving no response.

Smart explained that at the moment and in that situation, attempting the rip-through move made no sense since the Celtics needed to play for a tie.

“With 4.6 seconds, you need three [points], and they know we need three,” Smart added. “We’re expecting them to foul. He didn’t catch me when I was at my most vulnerable. I had already started shooting. I assumed it would be three free throws, but they said no.”

Smart, on the other hand, made the first free shot before missing the second to give the Celtics a chance. Smart, Robert Williams III, and Al Horford all attempted shots, but none of them were successful. Horford’s second shot, which went through the basket and elicited cheers from the Celtics bench, came a tenth of a second after the time had run out.

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Horford stated, “Smart timed it brilliantly.” “I was successful in obtaining the rebound. It was just hanging about the rim at that point. We thought we had a terrific look there. I suppose I tipped it once and missed it, and I knew I was slightly off the second time, so I wasn’t optimistic. I was running late. However, we gave ourselves an opportunity to equalize the game and force overtime.”

Smart claimed he made the decision to try the missed free throw on his own and informed his teammates, but that there may have been another missed call as his teammates attempted to get shots up at the end.

“It was ideal. I completely missed it, “Smart remarked. “Nobody had anticipated this. They were our guys. I’ve figured it out. Bobby Portis of the Milwaukee Bucks tugs my shoulder, which throws me off. However, I did get a decent look. It landed on the rim. We had a few chances, as Al mentioned, but it didn’t work out.”

In the fourth quarter, Boston trailed by as many as 13 points before storming back to win 100-99 on a pair of Brown free throws with 1:49 remaining. Milwaukee was unable to respond on their next play, and Boston had two opportunities to extend their advantage to four points, but Smart and Brown both missed 3-point attempts.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo made a layup on the next possession to put the Bucks ahead. With 11.2 seconds remaining, Holiday made a bucket in the lane to extend the advantage to 103-100. Coming out of the timeout, Udoka devised a play that could have resulted in a quick two, but the Bucks foiled him.

Brown explained, “Smart tossed it to me in the corner.”

“Jrue Holiday was staying with me. He put a lot of pressure on me. He stole it away from me as I was trying to get to my location, so I flipped it back to Smart.”

Brown focused on the game’s last call at that point

He explained, “You have to comprehend time and scoring.” “We’ve lost three players. We’re trying to put one together. I assumed it was self-evident. They’ve been calling that on the floor for the past year, which we understand. However, in terms of time and score, I believe they made a mistake.”

When the contact happened, Holiday believed Smart was still facing the sidelines. Holiday clarified, “That’s not a shooting motion.” “It wasn’t pointing towards the rim.”

Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer noted the Bucks were fortunate that the call was just for two free throws instead of three in that situation.

Udoka considered utilizing his challenge several times before deciding to use it on a block/charge call against Grant Williams with 5:57 remaining in the game. Without that challenge, Udoka wouldn’t be able to ask officials to check to see if Smart was shooting during the game’s final possession.

“Toward the finish, you’d prefer to save it more,” Udoka added. “However, they claim that if they don’t fall down, they won’t call it. As a result, I’m going to educate my boys to flop more.”

The Celtics were the more active team in the final 16:30 of the game, despite the controversial decision at the conclusion. Boston made 17 free throws during that time, while Milwaukee made none. Still, there was plenty of physical play by both teams throughout the contest.

However, there were moments when Udoka observed his squad grumbling excessively and failing to return to defense. Pat Connaughton scored a 3-pointer on the opposite end after Williams screamed about a no-call on one end, prompting a heated timeout from Udoka.

“As much as they’re going to let you play, you have to play through it and keep your cool,” Udoka added. “If they’re going to call it that way on both ends, you’ve got to play through it and not complain about calls.”

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Boston shot poorly throughout the game, failing to reach 35 percent in each of the first three quarters until hitting 11 of 22 shots in the fourth, including three putback tries late in the game. Brown and Horford combined for 49 points on 17-of-33 shooting, while Jayson Tatum had an awful night at the worst possible time for the Celtics. He scored 10 points on 4-of-19 shooting and made none of his six 3-point attempts.

Tatum attended the press conference wearing a black wrap on his left hand and wrist, as he did in Game 2. He grabbed his wrist after being fouled by Antetokounmpo while attempting a slam in the second quarter.After that play, he stated his wrist hurt, but “it was something I’d been dealing with for probably like two months now.” He claimed that he has dealt with similar situations in the past.

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Tatum claimed he hurt it in a fall two months ago, and that while rest would have helped, it’s still uncomfortable at times because it’s still getting struck. He asserts, though, that the harm is cured.

Tatum was also disappointed with the team’s overall performance, believing they should have won the game.
“They performed admirably. You have to give them credit “Tatum explained. “But, all things considered, I believe the disappointing aspect is that we still had opportunities and came back to give ourselves a chance to win the game. We didn’t do it. And that is difficult.”

This information was obtained from our correspondents and various web sources.


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