Milwaukee Bucks: Takeaways from 117-97 win over Brooklyn Nets

BROOKLYN, NY - JANUARY 18: (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - JANUARY 18: (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 18: (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JANUARY 18: (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Truly offensive fouls

Let the bodies hit the floor. Kitted out in their white uniforms on Saturday night, the Brooklyn Nets did their best impression of bowling pins. Not for the first or likely the last time this season, the strategy for defending the Bucks appeared to be selling any and all contact in an attempt to draw charges.

That approach largely worked as well as it could have for the Nets on this occasion, and yet they still lost by 20. In its own right, that sums up the merit of that particular tactic.

Of course, there is some logic to this particular approach and reason for why teams are turning to it. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s relentless aggression in attacking the rim certainly opens the door for offensive fouls, and the chance to get him in foul trouble pretty cheaply.

If a team can achieve that through legitimate calls, all credit to them. But with Antetokounmpo called for four offensive fouls on Saturday, of which only one wasn’t highly dubious, that’s an entirely different story.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot received the benefit of the doubt upon contact, even though he still appeared to be sliding his way back into play. Most egregiously, Kyrie Irving drew charges on Giannis on essentially back to back possessions, setting himself up to take the fall from closer to halfcourt than the basket.

Aside from debating whether Irving had established position or got himself appropriately set to earn the call, a question the Bucks, as an organization, may need to ask the officials is where is Antetokounmpo supposed to go. If he gathers the ball and isn’t afforded the room to take a step, far from the basket, surely that’s a play that’s endangering the offensive player as much as anything else.

This was a concern aired out by Giannis and Khris Middleton after the Celtics did the same in their previous outing, with Mike Budenholzer remarking:

"“I think it’s a huge concern. If and when players are falling before contact and there’s feet and knees and legs that are kind of putting Giannis in a dangerous place — I think it’s a tough game to call, Giannis is always in attack mode — but if there’s no contact and guys are falling and/or underneath him, that’s dangerous.”"

Giannis will continue to rack up offensive fouls that are completely reasonable. For what it’s worth, he’s already fouled out of a game this season purely on offensive fouls. But the calls on Saturday in Brooklyn bordered on farcical, and that’s something completely different.