NBA

NBA Playoffs 2021: Giannis Antetokounmpo sticks with free-throw routine as Atlanta Hawks are latest team left frustrated

For the third consecutive series, the Milwaukee Bucks opposition have taken issue with Giannis Antetokounmpo's free-throw routine.

The two-time MVP is notorius for taking his time at the line, running through an extended routine that pushes the boundary of the seldom called 10-second violation.

The Miami Heat were bothered by this, as were the Brooklyn Nets, and now Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan has joined in the chorus after Antetokounmpo was listed in the NBA's last two minute report for violating the rule in Game 1.

"Absolutely it's a rule that we want them to call," McMillan said prior to Game 2. "So the NBA announced that that should have been called, and we hope that if that happens again, that it is called."

Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer brushed off the idea that it should be a story, pointing to the fact that it's not exactly a new thing when it comes to Antetokounmpo.

"He's got his routine. It's been a big topic of conversation, I get it, I understand it. I think he's in a good place, I always say we want him at the free-throw line, we want him attacking. The more he gets there the better, this conversation has been going on for a long time and he's well aware and in a good place," Budenholzer said.

"It's like if you had a stopclock for every time someone was in the paint for offensive three seconds. I guarantee you, any type of timing mechanism is something that happens on a pretty regular basis. If you took a clock on an out of bounds play, how many times it may take more than five seconds. If they wanted to put a stopwatch on it...it's just an unfair thing to the referees, it's an unfair thing.

"All things that are timing, the game isn't done with a stopclock. We wouldn't want that for three seconds, we wouldn't want that for out of bounds. He's going to get to the free-throw line, he's going to shoot them, we hope he makes them and it's kind of end of story."

While McMillan wants to hear the whistle if Antetokounmpo strays over the 10-second barrier, he did at least concede Budenholzer had a point.

"Call it. Budenholzer is right, though. There are guys that are camping in the lane for three seconds. Sometimes that's not called, just as he mentioned on both ends of the floor, the offensive end of the floor as well as the defensive end of the floor," McMillan said.

"What we have to do is try to bring that to the attention of the league, to the officials during the game, and hopefully they make those calls. It's the same thing with the 10 seconds at the free-throw line.

"So it's not called every time, and the officials, sometimes they miss that. We want them to be consistent with making those calls."

Antetokounmpo went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line in Game 2, taking his overall tally to 9-for-12 for the series. The 75 percent mark is above his regular season mark of 68.5 and well up from his playoff average of 53.7 through the first two rounds.

Despite the consistent noise, the Milwaukee superstar shrugged when asked if he picked up the speed in Game 2.

"No, no. Usually I take eight to nine seconds," he explained.

"When my coaching staff tells me to speed it up I'm around ten and sometimes the refereee will speak to me and say I have to speed it up. Then I make an effort to take it a second or two seconds faster. My mindset was go through my routine, get as many dribbles as I can, get my breath and shoot my shot."

If the postseason returns are anything to go by, Antetokounmpo is unlikely to speed up his routine, the officials are unlikely to call him out on it and the opposition is likely to continue being frustrated by it.

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