Thursday, May 21, 2020

Boston Celtics Jaylen Brown and Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo exchange words after Team USA victory over Greece.

Giannis Antetokounmpo & Jaylen Brown during Team USA and Greece in FIBA World Cup.

Jaylen Brown and Giannis Antetokounmpo exchanged words with each other after Team USA defeated Greece 69-53.  Brown’s Boston Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks have met each other in the playoffs for the last two seasons.  In what seems to be a rivalry in the making, the Celtics and Bucks have had some heated exchanges over the years.

In today’s game, however, Giannis’ brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who also plays for the Greece team and the Milwaukee Bucks, committed a hard foul on USA’s Harrison Barnes.  Barnes was on a fast break to the hoop a dunked the ball.  Antetokounmpo was charging from behind him and used his body against the back of Barnes, which sent Barnes flying into the stands.

As we have seen in the NBA, when players are up in the air (especially near the basket) you need to give them their landing space.  It always causes a problem between the two teams, as it’s widely considered “dirty”.  In this scenario, Barnes had his back turned and couldn’t see what was going on behind him; he had no chance to defend the hit.

After the play, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart informed Giannis’ brother that in fact, that type of play is not tolerated at any level of basketball.  When the game concluded, it appears that Giannis didn’t appreciate Jaylen Brown’s aggression towards his little brother and had something to say to him about it.

When it was all said and done, Marcus Smart had this to say about the foul and what was going through the minds of those on Team USA:

“We took exception to that hard foul. The game was pretty much over, and he had no way of blocking that shot. At that moment, you have to prepare for injuries, and we wouldn’t want no body to be injured.  We just let them know. It’s a learning moment for him. Because if the tables were turned and somebody did that to them, we’d probably be having a whole different discussion right now, and we just wanted them to learn from that.”

When Jaylen Brown was asked about the confrontation, he seemed to be pretty laid back about the whole thing.

“Yeah, I said something to Giannis. Well, Giannis said something to me, really. But, we have bigger fish to fry. So we can move on.”

Milwaukee Bucks teammate Kris Middleton, who is also playing with Team USA, tried to deescalate the situation by pushing his Bucks teammate out of the confrontation.  It also appears that Middleton may be telling Giannis to simply shut up!

Thankfully, Barnes was not injured on the play and Team USA came out victorious.  Team USA now has a match-up on Monday morning against Brazil.

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My name is Justin, I'm from Rhode Island, and I'm a HUGE New England sports fan. Sports are important part of my life, which works out well seeing as I follow the greatest sports city in the country!

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