During his postgame media availability, Smart criticized referees for overturning a call that kept reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in the game for the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
“Giannis had six fouls and they didn’t want to get him out,” Smart said. “Let’s call a spade a spade. That’s what it is.”
With the score tied at 107 and about 90 seconds remaining, Smart slid in and appeared to take a charge against a driving Antetokounmpo. The referees initially whistled Antetokounmpo for an offensive foul, which would have been his sixth personal of the game. Upon review, however, they reversed the decision and called a blocking foul on Smart because his feet were outside of the restricted area.
Antetokounmpo remained in the game, went to the free-throw line, and converted the three-point play.
“Quite frankly, I think we all knew what that was about,” Smart said.
According to the game’s Last Two-Minute Report, the officials made the correct decision to overturn the initial call.
“Smart was not established in a legal guarding position at the time of Antetokounmpo’s gather on the driving shot attempt,” read the league’s explanation.
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