Giannis Antetokounmpo should have been whistled for a 10-second violation on each of his two free throws with 5.3 seconds left in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 116-113 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 on Wednesday, meaning the two made shots should not have counted, the NBA said in its Last Two Minute Report on Thursday.
With Atlanta leading by three, Hawks forward Solomon Hill fouled Antetokounmpo by wrapping him up rather than letting him get an easy basket. After Antetokounmpo made both free throws to bring the Bucks to within one, Trae Young made a pair of his own at the other end. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton then missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer, and the Hawks took a 1-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
The length of Antetokounmpo’s free throw routine has been a hot topic throughout the playoffs. He was called for a 10-second violation in Milwaukee’s Game 1 victory in the first round over the Miami Heat and again in its Game 3 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
In the Brooklyn series, the host Nets actually showed a timer on the scoreboard during Game 1 at Barclays Center during Antetokounmpo’s free throws before being told by the NBA to take it down. In Game 7, the partisan crowd routinely counted to 12 before Antetokounmpo released each of his 14 free throw attempts in that game, but he was not called for any violations.
After shooting 68.5% from the foul line during the regular season, Antetokounmpo has seen his numbers dip to 55.4% (56-for-101) in 12 games this postseason. He went 6-for-8 from the foul line in Milwaukee’s Game 1 loss to the Hawks.
Before Game 1, Hawks coach Nate McMillan declined to say whether the Hawks would employ an intentional-foul strategy against Antetokounmpo like they successfully did with Ben Simmons in their prior series against the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.