Giannis’ 10-second (and more) FT routine draws more scrutiny

Dec 5, 2022, 6:15 AM | Updated: 8:56 pm
Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) goes past Orlando Magic's Markelle Fultz, left, during ...

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) goes past Orlando Magic's Markelle Fultz, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(AP Photo/John Raoux)

              Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, left, and Orlando Magic's Moritz Wagner have similar reactions to an out of bounds ball that went in the favor of the Orlando Magic during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
            
              Orlando Magic's Moritz Wagner, left, blocks a shot attempt by Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
            
              Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) makes an uncontested dunk against the Orlando Magic during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
            
              Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) goes past Orlando Magic's Markelle Fultz, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo is having issues at the foul line again.

Not with his accuracy — but his timing.

For the second time in his team’s last three games, the Milwaukee Bucks’ star had a free throw taken away because he didn’t shoot it within the allotted 10 seconds — a problem that has dogged him at various times throughout his career.

“Sometimes I’m so tired I take a few extra seconds of resting,” said Antetokounmpo, who turns 28 on Tuesday. “If there’s going to be a 10-second call, I expect it. I’ll give them the ball and run the other way.”

The latest chapter in this years-long saga came with 1:52 left in the third quarter of Milwaukee’s 109-102 win over Orlando on Monday night. Antetokounmpo was fouled by Moritz Wagner and took about 13 seconds before taking and making his first attempt.

On what would have been the second free throw, Antetokounmpo’s routine was much like the previous attempt. He caught the pass from official Nate Green, took a deep breath and held the ball on his left hip for about 6 1/2 seconds. He then moved the ball in front of him, holding it with both hands, spun it, dribbled once, gathered it again and took another deep breath.

All that took about 7 more seconds.

“At the end of the day, that’s my routine,” Antetokounmpo said. “Obviously, I have to respect the rules and shoot it before the 10 seconds. But anytime that it’s 10 seconds, I’m OK with it. If they call it, I don’t complain.”

By then, referee Brian Forte had seen enough and blew his whistle. Antetokounmpo never got the shot away, and it wouldn’t have counted at that point if he did.

“He’s aware,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said when asked if he talks to Antetokounmpo when the foul line becomes a struggle. “It’s a brief conversation. He’s got routines and sticks to them. I think he’s overall in a good place this year. He’s just got to tighten it up a little bit.”

A similar scene happened Friday in Milwaukee’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, when Antetokounmpo was called for a 10-second violation in what became a 133-129 loss. He didn’t play in Milwaukee’s win over Charlotte on Saturday.

For the season, Antetokounmpo is shooting a career-worst 62% from the foul line. He had a three-game stretch in November where he shot a horrible 13-for-38 (34%) from the line — a 4-for-15 game in Philadelphia was part of that, the night where he returned to the court postgame for some practice and wound up sending a ladder toppling to the ire of arena workers.

Since that three-game stretch, he’s shot 49 for 67 (73%). He was 8 for 11 on Monday.

“As I’ve said, 10 games ago, I wasn’t at my best,” Antetokounmpo said. “Now I’m making some. I’m shooting it better and hopefully I can keep this up. And I believe I’m going to keep this up.”

The wording of the NBA definition for free throws in the rulebook is this: “A free throw is the privilege given a player to score one point by an unhindered attempt for the goal from a position directly behind the free throw line. This attempt must be made within 10 seconds.”

That has been an issue for Antetokounmpo throughout his career — most notably in the 2021 playoffs, when he was called for 10-second violations multiple times. That didn’t exactly cause lasting damage; Milwaukee won the NBA title and Antetokounmpo was NBA Finals MVP.

There was a game in 2016 against Portland when Meyers Leonard, then of the Trail Blazers, held up his fingers while on the bench to silently count off the 10-plus seconds it took Antetokounmpo to shoot a foul shot. Fans in Toronto have used the tactic during some of Antetokounmpo’s past trips there, too.

In the game against the Lakers on Friday, Russell Westbrook counted off 10 seconds as well — not silently, and got the violation called.

“I did feel validated,” Westbrook said. “Glad they paid attention.”

Antetokounmpo fought through whatever the issue is on subsequent trips to the line Monday.

He went back to the line with 2 minutes left in regulation and Milwaukee clinging to a four-point lead. He moved much more quickly, unofficially taking the full 10 seconds in both cases before releasing the basketball, and made one of the two shots.

With 40.2 seconds left, he went back to the line, again taking roughly 10 seconds before each shot. He made both to give the Bucks a 106-99 lead, unfazed by fans loudly (and a bit briskly) counting off seconds as he prepared to shoot.

“It is what it is,” Antetokounmpo said.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, right, celebrate with th...
Associated Press

Chiefs survive Bengals, get 2 weeks to heal for Super Bowl

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes certainly deserved a game ball from Sunday night’s AFC title game, when the All-Pro quarterback dashed off on his sprained right ankle in the waning seconds to help set up the winning field goal. Travis Kelce probably did, too. With the Chiefs missing three wide receivers because of […]
2 days ago
FILE - Hall of Fame baseball announcer Harry Caray, right, laughs with his grandson Chip in Chicago...
Associated Press

Chip Caray follows grandpa’s footsteps as voice of Cardinals

Longtime broadcaster Chip Caray is taking over as the television play-by-play voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, more than five decades after his grandfather and Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray became a baseball staple with the same club. Bally Sports Midwest announced Caray’s hiring in a statement Monday. The voice of the Atlanta Braves […]
2 days ago
St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch gestures during his State of the City speech Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, ...
Associated Press

Plan outlined for new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark, redevelopment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays will be built near the current one under plans unveiled Monday as part of a massive redevelopment project that also includes affordable housing, office space and retail in what was once a thriving Black neighborhood. Mayor Ken Welch, of St. Petersburg, Florida, […]
2 days ago
FILE - Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Zack Grienke throws against the Seattle Mariners in the ...
Associated Press

AP source: Royals agree with RHP Greinke on deal for 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Royals and Zach Greinke have agreed to a contract for the coming season, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Monday, making it nine seasons over two stints in Kansas City for the six-time All-Star pitcher. The person spoke to the AP on condition of […]
2 days ago
This image provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment shows Miami's young star Jazz Chisholm Jr. on...
Associated Press

MLB The Show ’23 cover athlete is Marlins’ Jazz Chisholm

MIAMI (AP) — Jazz Chisholm Jr., the Miami Marlins’ Euro-stepping, home-run blasting all-star, has goals beyond his impressive stats. With every stolen base and acrobatic catch, Chisholm hopes to have an impact on the next generation of players. “I had Ken Griffey Jr., who was a real idol to a lot of guys all over,” […]
2 days ago
FILE - Portland Thorns fans hold signs during the first half of the team's NWSL soccer match agains...
Associated Press

US Soccer announces program to ensure player safety

U.S. Soccer has introduced a Safe Soccer program that will require comprehensive vetting of individuals involved in the sport as the federation continues to address its investigation into coach misconduct in the National Women’s Soccer League. The Safe Soccer program announced Monday aims to overhaul the criteria for participation in the sport from the youth […]
2 days ago
Giannis’ 10-second (and more) FT routine draws more scrutiny