The Philadelphia 76ers picked up an impressive team win over the Milwaukee Bucks in an Eastern Conference showdown. While the shorthanded 110-102 victory was a story in itself, there also were some fireworks after the game. Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo returned to the court following the victory after some notable struggles at the free-throw line during the matchup. The former MVP was looking to practice his free-throw shooting, but the Wells Fargo Staff were attempting to clean up for the night. A few lingering fans caught on video Antetokounmpo tossing the staff’s ladder to the side as they attempted to do their job so he could continue practicing.
There is more to this story than just this short clip. The Bucks star was out on the court for several minutes before the employees carried the ladder over. There were a number of Sixers fans who stuck around during the free-throw spectacle and let Giannis know they were aware of his struggles.
Following his toss of the ladder, more sparks flew. Montrezl Harrell took exception to Antetokounmpo’s disregard for the Wells Fargo employees and let him know about it. He was guided away from the situation by Sixers and Wells Fargo personnel.
Antetokounmpo’s Free-Throw Issues
The desire to practice from the charity stripe stemmed from his Antetokounmpo’s issues during the game. The superstar’s otherwise solid game was overshadowed by his struggles at the line. Antetokounmpo shot just 4-15 (26.7%) from the free-throw line en route to his performance of 25 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists. Fans were especially excited by the missed free throws due to the “Bricken for Chicken” promotion in which fans get free Chick-Fil-A for an opponent missing two consecutive free throws. The horrid shooting performance from Antetokounmpo earned all Sixers fans a free 12-count of chicken nuggets which can be claimed on the Chick-Fil-A app.
Struggles at the free throw line have been a theme throughout the Greek Freak’s career. He came into the matchup shooting a career-worst 62.1% at the charity stripe on the season and these issues look to have worsened. This has been seen in the postseason as well. During the Bucks’ 2020-21 championship run, Antetokounmpo shot just 58.7% on free-throw attempts. This was 0.7% higher than his free-throw average in the previous postseason.
This is a major concern for the superstar and one of the few weaknesses in his game. Sixers fans are familiar with how costly postseason free-throw struggles can be stemming from their time with Ben Simmons. The former Sixers guard shot just 34.2% at the free-throw line during the Sixers’ 2020-21 postseason while attempting 6.1 attempts per game. Opponents utilized the ‘Hack-a-Ben’ strategy to continually send him to the free throw line which proved to be effective for stretches. The Sixers were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks which became the breaking point for Simmons in Philadelphia.
While it is admirable that Antetokounmpo seeks to improve his free throw shooting, it does not excuse his behavior in the situation. The superstar was clearly frustrated by his struggles at the line and the team’s loss and allowed this to get the best of him. This is a rare negative mark on the otherwise stellar reputation of the Greece product. Hopefully, he steps up and apologizes to the Wells Fargo Staff, and amends are made in the situation.