The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday by a final score of 120-118 to improve their record to 5-2 on the season. But they were without forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for nearly half the game.
Antetokounmpo received his second technical foul of the game early on in the third quarter for taunting Pistons big man Isaiah Stewart after dunking on him. He was subsequently ejected.
Giannis was ejected after getting a tech for taunting on this play.
He sat down in the front row after getting the tech 😅 pic.twitter.com/MsDpEcTGHu
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 9, 2023
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went off about the fact that Antetokounmpo got ejected from the Bucks-Pistons game.
.@stephenasmith says Giannis getting ejected was RIDICULOUS 👀
"I'm going to call the league office today. Who the hell is paying to see the referee? That is not a reason to eject Giannis Antetokounmpo from a game." pic.twitter.com/y84gU3WpKC
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 9, 2023
“Imma call the league office today,” Smith said. “Who the hell is paying to see the referee? That is not a reason to eject Giannis Antetokounmpo from a game. That is ridiculous. That is a disservice to the fans paying — to paying customer coming to see them play. That is ridiculous. … That is not a reason to eject a superstar basketball player, who clearly the paying customer is coming to see. I know you get him 41 nights a year in the locale that is Milwaukee. I get all of that. Thank God it wasn’t a road game where you only get to see him once or twice a year, but for Giannis Antetokounmpo to get ejected for that reason is ridiculous.”
Before his ejection, Antetokounmpo racked up 15 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three blocks against the Pistons. Also, he shot 6-of-16 from the floor and 3-of-6 from the free-throw line.
Bucks point guard Damian Lillard had the best offensive showing of any player on the team against Detroit. He finished with 34 points and three assists while converting 10 of his 25 field-goal attempts and 12 of his 13 free-throw attempts. Lillard did struggle to score the ball behind the 3-point arc, however, seeing as how he went 2-of-12 from deep.
Antetokounmpo has had a shaky start to the 2023-24 regular season from an offensive standpoint, at least by his standards. He’s averaging 24.4 points and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 52.5 percent from the field in seven appearances with the Bucks thus far.
For comparison, he averaged 31.1 points and 5.7 assists per game with the Bucks a season ago. Plus, he converted 55.3 percent of his field-goal attempts.
The Bucks are now tied with the Boston Celtics for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. Boston started out the season 5-0 but has lost its last two games to the Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers.
It’s definitely debatable whether Antetokounmpo — one of the league’s top must-see players — should have been ejected for taunting Stewart in the third quarter.
The Bucks will hope to extend their current winning streak to four games when they take on the Indiana Pacers on the road on Thursday.