EXPLAINED: Bucks & Pacers Got Into Heated Battle For Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Career Night Game Ball
On Wednesday night, the Milwaukee Buck were able to take revenge on the Indiana Pacers for their In-Season Tournament Semi-Final loss, by beating them 140-126.
In the game, Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo not only set a new career high in points with 64, but also broke the franchise record for most points in a game, which had been held by Michael Redd since November 2006. The forward had scored 57 points in a loss in Utah. Antetokounmpo’s previous record was 55 points, which he scored against the Washington Wizards on January 3.
The Greek converted 20 of his 28 shots and marched to the free throw line an incredible 32 times, of which he made 24.
GIANNIS JUST MADE HISTORY.
64 PTS is a career-high and a Bucks franchise record pic.twitter.com/x7xnMrUi9U
— NBA (@NBA) December 14, 2023
However, the game was not without controversy. When Antetokounmpo broke Redd’s franchise record with 3:25 minutes remaining, the two-time MVP took a seat on the bench, with the Bucks up by 19. Due to the Pacers scoring nine consecutive points, Bucks coach Adrian Griffin sent his starters back out onto the court and Antetokounmpo added six more points, including a dunk in transition with 26 seconds left on the clock, which was no longer necessary.
This is what the Pacers didn’t like, which lead to an assistant coach grabbing the game ball after the game and disappeared into the locker room. Antetokounmpo, who understandably wanted his record game-ball, followed him into the Pacers tunnel, before storming back onto the court to continue arguing with Tyrese Haliburton.
Giannis tried to go into the Pacers locker room after they took the game ball from his 64 piece pic.twitter.com/Z9LnPQihzJ
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) December 14, 2023
Whether you want to believe him or not, but Pacers coach Rick Carlisle explained the theft of the game ball after the game as follows:
“There was a misunderstanding about the game ball. It was Oscar Tshiebwe’s first official NBA point. We always get the game ball. We were not thinking about Giannis’ franchise record. … Unfortunate situation.”
Pacers HC Rick Carlisle:
“There was a misunderstanding about the game ball. It was Oscar Tshiebwe’s first official NBA point. We always get the game ball. We were not thinking about Giannis’ franchise record. … Unfortunate situation.” pic.twitter.com/xT6NdvmWgH
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 14, 2023
And on the subject of the game ball. Carlisle also admitted after the game that they had mistakenly taken the reserve ball. A Bucks security guard reportedly had grabbed the real match ball to later hand it to Antetokounmpo.
However, the two-time MVP doesn’t know if he actually ended up with his record game game ball or not:
“I have no idea. I don’t know. I have a ball, but it doesn’t feel like the game ball to me. It feels like a brand new one. I’ve played 35 minutes today, I know how the game ball felt, the ball that I have, which I’ll take – I’ll give it to my mom for sure – but I don’t know if it actually the game ball. It’s ok, life continues.”
The saga takes another turn. Giannis says he is not sure if the game ball he received is the actual game ball. He also reveals he doesn’t possess the Game 6 Finals game ball either.
Full answer: pic.twitter.com/dcIxc17oJr
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) December 14, 2023