When Giannis Antetokounmpo and Marcus Smart crashed to the floor in the second half of Game 4 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs, it provided a brief moment of levity in a game that was drowning in intensity.
Antetokounmpo and Smart had their legs tangled as they laid on the court with play going the other way. Smart tried to help Giannis to his feet, but Antetokounmpo refused to get up. It was a small but meaningless sequence that shows just how physical this series has been.
The Celtics stole a 116-108 win in Milwaukee to tie the series at 2-2. Watch the clip of Giannis refusing Smart’s help here:
nah this was hilarious. pic.twitter.com/EDfef7YZb5— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) May 10, 2022
We found the play they got tangled up on. It happened early in the fourth quarter as the Celtics were starting their run to take the lead.
After Giannis missed a shot and Brook Lopez missed the putback, Smart and Antetokounmpo fell to the floor. It looks like Smart ripped Giannis to the ground. Maybe that’s why Giannis didn’t want Smart to help him back up.
Here’s what Smart said after the game:
Marcus Smart said Giannis kicked him in the face when they were both tangled on the ground in second half.— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) May 10, 2022
It looks like Smart takes down Giannis and rolls into knees in the play above. Then on the floor, Smart genuinely tries to help Antetokounmpo up, but Giannis just lays down as a way to prevent Smart from getting back into the play on the other end. It’s Giannis pulling the type of sneaky move you’d expect from a savvy vet like Smart.
That’s just how this series has been played, with two huge, tough teams going all out on every possession. The Bucks blew their chance to go up 3-1 in the series. The Celtics have new life. The intensity of this series is just going to keep ratcheting up.