To kick off their 2023-24 NBA season, the Milwaukee Bucks were at home against the Philadelphia 76ers, escaping with a 118-117 win, but it didn't come without some airball/no-call travel controversy courtesy of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Officials missing this travel (airball catch) by Giannis was huge. pic.twitter.com/dZY8WiC0bp
— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) October 27, 2023
The culprit here was Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. As you can see in the clip above, he goes for a lay-up, it hits off the right side of the rim, he gets the offensive rebound, then moon balls the shot across the basketball horizontally, catches it instantly, dishes it out to newcomer Damian Lillard, and he knocks down a vital three-point shot with 4:06 to go in the game, putting the Bucks up 105-104.
And, well, X, formerly known as Twitter, users were unhappy about the no-call here.
That was a very fun Bucks game. And yet ? cannot believe how bad NBA refs have been this season. Tonight?s crew missed Giannis throw an airball to himself on one of the biggest plays of 4Q. You could have made that call from the last row of the arena. Come on.
— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) October 27, 2023
"That was a very fun Bucks game. And yet — cannot believe how bad NBA refs have been this season. Tonight's crew missed Giannis throw an airball to himself on one of the biggest plays of 4Q. You could have made that call from the last row of the arena. Come on," said Bill Simmons, the founder of The Ringer.
Why can Giannis catch his own airball & it not be a travel? Can someone please answer this for me?
THAT IS A TRAVEL. CALL IT.
— Josh Reynolds (@JoshReynolds24) October 27, 2023
"Why can Giannis catch his own airball & it not be a travel? Can someone please answer this for me? THAT IS A TRAVEL. CALL IT," said Josh Reynolds of SB Nation.
Even the broadcaster chimed in with their theories on what happened.
Giannis clearly airballs a layup and catches his miss, which is a travel. Yet, the refs claim that the ball ?slipped out of his hand?, and the bucks get a 3 off of this play? pic.twitter.com/K3nHvkFt1b
— Aidan LaPorta (@AidanLaPorta69) October 27, 2023
"Giannis might've got away with one here coach. It looked like it touched the backboard or the rim; there was no block, and that set up Damian Lillard," the broadcast team said.
Antetokounmpo finished the game with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists, while Lillard, in his first game with the Bucks, finished with 39 points, eight rebounds and four assists. No other player on the Bucks scored more than 13.
The Antetokounmpo-Lillard duo is off to a good start for Bucks fans, but the rest of the NBA's fans are sitting here Friday morning wondering why a travel wasn't called in what was surely a game-clinching three-point shot from Lillard.
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