On Saturday, NBA officials suspended Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo for headbutting Boston Celtics forward Blake Griffin.
The two players came head-to-head on Thursday just over a minute before the Celtics claimed a spectacular 140-99 win. Griffin fouled Thanasis’ attempt at a layup, leading to a flagrant foul. Thanasis, brother of fellow Bucks teammate and Giannis Antetokounmpo, responded to Griffin’s agitation with a headbutt to the temple.
After the headbutt, a heated exchange between the two teams led to Thanasis being entirely ejected from the game for a flagrant foul.
“It’s that time of year. We’re all getting ready for the playoffs, it backs against the wall and survival of the fittest,” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said.
As a result of the suspension, Thanasis will miss out on the Bucks’ Sunday game against the Philadelphia 76ers. He has averaged 0.8 points and 0.9 rebounds this season in the past 33 games.
Griffin and the Antetokounmpo brothers have a historical feud dating back to 2019 when Griffin played for the Detroit Pistons.
In a Bucks vs. Pistons game on December 4, 2019, Griffins repeatedly provoked Giannis through mockery and physical fouls. However, Giannis remained unfettered, carrying the Bucks to their 127-103 victory.
Later in 2021, when Griffins moved on to the Brooklyn Nets, he faced off once again with the Antetokounmpos. This time he targeted Thanasis, fouling the Bucks forward under the net and proceeding to step over him. A benched Giannis stood up to check on his brother but stayed away from the conflict.
In addition to Griffin’s personal history with the Antetokounmpos, the Bucks and the Celtics have had a tough rivalry in the latest season. The two teams compete for the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings, with tensions rising as they head off into the season’s final weeks before playoffs.
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