The Boston Celtics were inside the Fiserv Forum on Saturday.
Marcus Smart was given the ball by Jaylen Brown with the clock winding down and the Celtics training by three. Smart tried to get his shot off with Holiday giving him no space at all. The whistle blew as Holiday hit Smart.
The foul was called on the floor instead of a three-shot foul, which was a relief to the majority of the 17,736 in attendance. Boston had a chance to tie the game after Smart missed the second free throw, but none of the putbacks went in, giving Milwaukee a 103-101 win and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Boston coach Ime Udoka felt the call was missed.
It was a foul. It was a foul. He caught the ball, he turned into a shot, and Udoka advocated for a shooting foul rather than a call on the floor. You cannot say that is a sweep. You are going into a shot. That is a poor call. Poor no-call.
Udoka said he was told Smart was sweeping his arms.
I saw it in person but I also saw it on the film, Udoka said. He is going into a shot. He got hit on the way up. It was a bad missed call.
Smart asked every reporter in the room what they thought about the call. After getting no response, Smart said, "That's all I gotta say."
It made no sense for Smart to try the rip-through move when the Celtics needed to play for the tie.
Smart said they know they need three points with 4.6 seconds to go. It is not like he got me when it was low. I was already shooting. I thought it was going to be three free throws.
Smart missed the second free throw in order to give the Celtics a chance. Smart, Robert Williams III and Al Horford all tried but failed. After the clock expired, Horford's second attempt, which went through the basket, was a tenth of a second.
Horford said that it was smart to get the rebound. It was hanging around the rim. We had good looks there. I missed it the second time I knew I was slightly off, so I was not very hopeful. I was late. We had a chance to tie it and send it to overtime.
Smart said he made the call to attempt the missed free throw on his own and let his teammates know it was coming but indicated there may have been another missed call as his teammates were trying to get shots up at the end.
It was perfect. Smart said he missed it perfectly. Our guys were. I have it. Bobby Portis pulls my shoulder and throws me off. I got a good look. I got it on the rim. We had a few chances, but it didn't work out for us.
Boston trailed by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter before storming back to take the lead on a pair of Jaylen Brown free throws. Boston had two chances to push the lead to four but Smart and Brown both missed 3-pointers.
The next time, Antetokounmpo hit a layup to give the Bucks the lead. After another stop, Holiday hit a bucket in the lane to push the lead to 103-100. The play Udoka drew up that could have gotten a quick two was rejected by the Bucks.
Brown said that Smart threw it to him in the corner. He made me feel pressured. I was trying to get to my spot when he took it away.
At the end of the game, Brown reflected on the call.
He said that you have to understand time and score. We want to get one up. I thought it was obvious. They have been calling that on the floor all year. I think they missed one.
Holiday thought Smart was still facing the sideline when the contact occurred.
The plan was not to foul up three in that situation, but the call was for two free throws, which was fortunate.
There were a few times when Udoka thought about using his challenge, but he decided to go with the call against Grant Williams. Without that challenge, Udoka could not ask officials to look for Smart in the late game.
Udoka said that they don't call it if they don't fall down. I will teach my guys to flop more.
The Celtics were the more aggressive team in the final 13 minutes of the game despite the questionable call at the end of the game. Boston shot 17 free throws compared to zero for Milwaukee. There was a lot of physical play between the two teams.
Sometimes Udoka saw his team complaining too much and not getting back to defense. Pat Connaughton hit a 3-pointer on the other end and Udoka called a timeout.
Udoka said that if they call it that way on both ends, you have to play through it.
Boston shot poorly throughout the game, failing to top 35% shooting in each of the first three quarters before hitting 11 of 22 shots in the fourth -- with three of those coming on putback attempts late. Brown and Horford combined to shoot 17-of-33 for 49 points, but the Celtics had an off night from Tatum. He missed all six of his 3-point attempts and finished with 10 points.
As he did in Game 2, Tatum entered the news conference with a black wrap around his wrist and left hand. He grabbed at the wrist after bracing himself on a dunk in the second quarter. He said the wrist was bothering him after that play, but it was something he had dealt with before.
It is sensitive at times because it continues to get hit, even though rest would have done him well. He insists the injury is healed.
It was a game he felt the team should have won.
They played well. The frustrating part is that we still had opportunities and came back and gave ourselves a chance to win the game. We did not. That is tough.
The story was contributed to by an athlete.