After sleeping off the disappointing 103-101 loss of May 7, Udoka addressed reporters during his media availability the following day and offered his perspective on the game’s final play, ending with Celtics point guard Marcus Smart intentionally missing his second free throw.
Smart, who believes the officials robbed him of three free throws, also believes the Milwaukee Bucks made contact a second time while grappling for the put-back layup in the winding seconds of regulation.
Udoka backed up that assessment.
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Udoka on Game 3’s Final Play: ‘It Was a Foul. It Was a Missed Call’
Reporters asked Udoka to weigh in on Smart’s assessment.
“No, it’s the same thing I saw live and saw yesterday after the game; it was a foul,” Udoka responded. “It was a missed call. The execution on the missed free throw was good, it looked like he grabbed a little bit there, but overall, it’s one play. You have to be better in the third quarter, and when I mentioned that yesterday — it was literally that they missed a call that would have got us three free throws and a chance to tie it, obviously, so that stands out. But, throughout the game, we can be better in the third quarter, especially with the turnovers and things of that nature.
“Overall, the refs have a tough job as far as that. Literally, the one play that stood out was the big one at the end. But things we have to play through and be better and not leave it in the hands of the ref, which we can’t do.”
Marcus claimed he was in a shooting motion following Saturday’s loss when Bucks guard Jrue Holiday drew a foul.
“What did you guys see?” Smart asked reporters on Saturday after losing Game 3. “I would like somebody to answer that. I mean, that’s all I’ve got to say. We need three with 4.6 seconds, they know we need three, we know they’re going to foul, and it’s not like he got me when it was down low. I was already in a shooting motion. I thought it was three free throws. They said it wasn’t.”
Udoka doesn’t point to officiating as the main reason the Celtics are down 2-1 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinals series.
The NBA’s L2M Report Calls It a Foul
Over the weekend, the NBA Officiating Last Two Minute Report, which highlighted the end of Game 3, weighed in on whether there was a foul on Smart.
“Holiday (MIL) commits a foul by making contact with Smart’s (BOS) arms before he is bringing the ball upward toward the basket,” the report explained. “A personal foul is correctly called.”
The Bucks will host the Celtics in Game 4 at Milwaukee on May 9.