The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Phoenix Suns 120-100 in Game 3 of the 2021 NBA Finals on Sunday night.
Three games into the series, Phoenix now holds a 2-1 lead.
One of the primary drivers of the Bucks’ success this weekend was the incredible play of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo’s free shooting has been the subject of much controversy in recent weeks, but he was stellar in that regard throughout Game 3. The two-time MVP finished 13-of-17 from the free throw line on the night.
One person who took issue with that? Suns head coach, Monty Williams.
Specifically, Williams didn’t like that Antetokounmpo alone got more opportunities at the free throw line than his entire team did.
“I’m not going to get into the complaining publicly about fouls,” he said. “Just not going to do that. But you can look. We had 16 free throws tonight. One person had 17.”
Specifically, Williams seemed to take issue with the fact that his big man, DeAndre Ayton, had racked up five fouls on the day – limiting him to just 24 minutes.
“I don’t even want to go there,” Williams continued. “It’s pretty self-explanatory. We got to figure out or define what is a legal guarding position, because there are times where he can move his hands out of the way. But it’s hard to tell a guy what to do when somebody is running into you. You know what I mean? I don’t know what a legal guarding position is at times.”
This isn’t the first time a member of the Suns has lobbed a shot in Antetokounmpo’s general direction. Devin Booker did it in far more disrespectful fashion earlier this year.
That said, Williams’ frustration is palpable – and Phoenix will need to figure out a way to remedy what ailed them in Game 3.
Confirms what everyone already knew. https://t.co/7gCpCMD7I1
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 6, 2021
This Bucks team has a lot of fight in them. Part of that is the byproduct of how they came up. Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton used to hate each other and developed a respect for one another through grit and hard work. That’s sort of been the mantra for the ballclub this entire time.
If the Suns continue to give Milwaukee an opportunity to come back, they will. Rather than complaining about officiating, Williams would be wise to figure out a solution. Because if he doesn’t, the Bucks could very easily return from this 2-1 deficit and win the NBA championship this year.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.