Giannis Antetokounmpo admitted frustration got the better of him after his technical foul helped inspire the Milwaukee Bucks in Thursday’s win over the Indiana Pacers.
Believing he was fouled when attempting a shot in traffic during the third quarter, Antetokounmpo’s continued complaints to the officials led to him being punished.
However, after the Pacers missed the technical free throw, the Bucks responded with 13 unanswered points to move clear of their opponents, eventually triumphing 117-98 to snap a two-game losing streak.
Antetokounmpo, who started the crucial run with a dunk, finished the game with a game-high 29 points, yet he praised his teammates for the positive way they reacted to his indiscretion.
“You’re playing the game and you’re trying to give your all, you’re trying to help your teammates in any way possible and sometimes things are not working out the way you wanted and you just get frustrated,” Antetokounmpo told the media. “Sometimes you take it out on the refs, sometimes you take it out on yourself. I obviously took it out on the ref and got the tech – [I] definitely deserved it.
“But I think my team-mates did a great job just picking it up, playing with energy, rebounding the ball and responding the right way.”
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) March 8, 2019
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer also felt the call on Antetokounmpo inspired the team in the right way, as they returned to winning ways following road losses in Utah and Phoenix.
“It felt like the whole arena, his team-mates, I think everybody was probably somewhat frustrated, but I think that frustration got channeled into a great energy,” Budenholzer said. “His teammates, and then Giannis, I thought made a couple big plays coming off the technical.”
Pau Gasol made his home debut – the center recording five rebounds in 11 minutes of action – as Milwaukee improved their record to 49-16, giving them a three-game lead over the Toronto Raptors at the top of the Eastern Conference.