Deandre Ayton fouled out of Game 3 against the Suns and was only able to make two free throws. Monty Williams pointed out that this is a disparity that has been present throughout the playoffs, and it will continue to be an issue if it continues.
Deandre Ayton’s foul trouble hampers Phoenix Suns in Game 3 loss as Monty Williams points out free throw disparity
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said he wouldn’t use his postgame press conference to complain about the refereeing following his team’s 120-100 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Then he went ahead and did it.
Williams stated, “I’m not going to go into the public whining about fouls.” “That’s not going to happen. But take a look at the stats: we made 16 free throws tonight. One individual had a total of 17.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ star forward, scored 40 points for the second consecutive game in the series, due in part to a 13-for-17 night at the foul line at Fiserv Forum.
The Bucks shot 20 of 26 from the line, compared to the Suns’ 11 of 16 from the line.
Given the history between the crew chief assigned to the game, Scott Foster, and Suns point guard Chris Paul, officiating was already a subject of discussion heading into Sunday.
With the exception of Game 3, Paul has now lost 12 straight postseason games with Foster officiating.
An NBA coach attempting to sow a seed for a favorable whistle as a series progresses is nothing new. Signature shoes and backdoor alley-oops are as much a part of the league as this.
The Suns were harmed the most by the difference because Deandre Ayton was called for so many fouls, which allowed Antetokounmpo to get into a groove.
After picking up five fouls and being forced to the bench, Ayton ended with only 18 points in 24 minutes after scoring 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting in the first half.
Williams said of Ayton’s night, “We have to learn from it.” “We had to get there ahead of the competition. I guarantee you, he’ll mature as a result of this.”
Paul could relate to the 22-year-old center’s predicament.
“Occasionally you’ll get a nice whistle, and sometimes you’ll get a terrible whistle,” Paul said. “It’s difficult, dude, with Giannis charging at you like a running back, you know what I’m talking about?”
While Williams criticized the officials, many of his players concentrated on Phoenix’s self-inflicted wounds.
Jae Crowder, who had his best game of the series with 18 points on 6-for-7 shooting, stated, “It goes back to the 50/50 balls that we lost.” “I believe we must win that fight on the road. It’s not about putting together a good shot. It’s simply a matter of going mano-a-mano, making sure your opponent doesn’t grab it, and catching the ball. You’ve got to find a way, and you’ve got to find a way quickly. And I felt like those guys scrapped a bit more today than we did once it got that close.”
The Bucks got 13 offensive rebounds compared to the Suns’ six, and they outscored them 20-2 in second-chance points.
Then there was Devin Booker, who only scored 10 points on 3-for-14 shooting, his lowest scoring total of the playoffs, after combining for 58 points in Games 1 and 2.
“I believe I can improve [shot attempts],” he said. “We’ll do our best to make it happen. The goal of the game is to win, although I believe there were other events that occurred throughout the game. You might call it a make-or-break game, but the goal is to make the other side miss and provide easy chances for your team. That was not the case tonight.”
And Paul, who finished with 19 points and nine assists, reiterated something he has been preaching throughout the playoffs: the significance of finishing good quarters.
In Game 3, Phoenix was outscored 40-9 in the last five minutes of the second and third quarters combined.
“That was huge for us,” Paul said of Milwaukee’s 24-6 third-quarter run after the Suns had cut the Bucks’ lead to four points. “Even in the second quarter, we weren’t able to finish the quarter properly. That’s something we’ve been discussing throughout the playoffs. You must control the game, particularly on the road. You’ve got to keep track of those quarter-end deadlines.”
The Suns remained confidence in their ability to contain Antetokounmpo and retain control of the Finals, despite the fact that the series was 2-1 against 2-0, with Antetokounmpo dominating and the Bucks awaiting home court in Game 4 on Wednesday.
Crowder said of the difficulty of defending Antetokounmpo, “We have enough bodies to get the job done.” “All we have to do now is work together and improve individually. However, we have a sufficient number of people to do the task. We just did not finish it tonight.”
“We’ve got to attempt to construct a wall in some manner,” Paul said.
- phoenix suns head coach