The Boston Celtics find themselves down 2-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks following Friday's 123-116 loss at the TD Garden.
4 TAKEAWAYS: Dominant Antetokounmpo leads Bucks to Game 3 win over Celtics
Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated from start to finish, recording 32 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and two steals on the night, with half of his points coming at the free throw line.
Antetokounmpo shot 22 free throws on the night as the Celtics struggled to keep him away from the rim, with point guard Kyrie Irving less than impressed with the free throw count in Game 3.
"A guy comes down six times in a row and gets free throws… shot 22 on the game. It's getting ridiculous at this point. It's slowing the f---ing game down." Irving said post-game.
After Game 3 loss to Bucks, Celtics' Kyrie Irving on Giannis Antetokounmpo's free throw attempts: "He shot 22 on the game. It's getting ridiculous at this point. It's slowing the f---ing game down." pic.twitter.com/GMvCYjRBTx- Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) May 4, 2019
The third quarter proved to be the turning point for the Bucks, who outscored the Celtics 40-31, making 17 trips to the free throw line in the quarter alone. It didn't help the Celtics that they were in the bonus with 7:30 remaining in the period.
"[Reacting to foul calls] is something we can manage. When that doesn't happen at that point in the game, we've got to collect ourselves and be ready to move onto the next play," Irving continued.
"We know how many free throws [Antetokounmpo] has shot per game. He's a great player in our league. We know how many times he goes to the basket and gets contact. We also know how many times we go to the basket and get contact."
During the regular season, Antetokounmpo averaged 7.7 drawn fouls per game which tied Joel Embiid for the most in the NBA. He was far more dominant in Game 3, drawing 16 fouls which were as many as he drew in Games 1 and 2 combined.
Over the past two games, Antetokounmpo shot a combined 40 free throws, bringing his total to 50 in the series after averaging 9.5 attempts per game through the regular season.
"I love getting to the free throw line....It's easy points," Antetokounmpo told reporters post-game.
"I'm just going to keep being aggressive. That's what my teammates want me to do."- NBA TV (@NBATV) May 4, 2019
Giannis (32 PTS, 12 REB, 8 AST) on his mentality after another big night in another Bucks win. #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/g5kNLWmliy
Irving, who led the Celtics with 29 points on 8-of-22 from the field, shot 12 free throws himself, vowed to be more aggressive in Game 4 in Boston.
"I've got to be more efficient, especially when I'm getting downhill on those switches," Irving added. I have to punish those guys. When I get a big on me, those guys with slow feet, I have to go right at them."
Will Irving and the Celtics be able to turn things around for Game 4?