Giannis Antetokounmpo rebounds own intentionally missed shot to notch triple-double, but NBA takes it away
Giannis Antetokounmpo completed Sunday’s victory over the Washington Wizards with his 35th career triple-double. But the way he did it was more fun than impressive.
Monday was even more fun.
The Milwaukee Bucks star was one rebound short in the closing seconds of a 117-111 victory with 23 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds. Instead of running out of time after grabbing his ninth board, Antetokounmpo moved quickly back to the basket, deliberately missed a layup and caught his 10th rebound to secure a triple-double.
It would have been Antetokounmpo’s fourth triple-double of the season, well behind Denver Nuggets big man and MVP favorite Nikola Jokic, who has 25 points. Luka Doncic, Domantas Sabonis and Ja Morant lead Antetokounmpo in the triple-doubles division. The Bucks star could equal James Harden and Russell Westbrook with four goals in a season.
After the game, Antetokounmpo said that he only decided not to score so the Bucks could retain possession of the ball before the final signal was given.
“I was thinking about scoring the ball, but I feel that in these situations it is best to keep the ball,” Antetokounmpo said. “But yeah, I’m just trying to play the game smart and kind of steal one.”
Unfortunately for Antetokounmpo, the NBA did not approve of his move. Per Zach Lowe of ESPNthe league canceled that last rebound on Monday because the rules stipulate that for a field goal attempt, and therefore a rebound, to count, a player must shoot “with the intent to score a field goal.”
It’s unclear what the league would have done if Antetokounmpo hadn’t bluntly admitted to trying to miss, but it probably gave them some peace of mind.
Antetokounmpo’s situation is similar to others
This is not the first time a player has attempted to earn a triple-double this way.
Atlanta Hawks defenseman Bob Sura his triple-double was annulled NBA in 2004, less than a day after his game after he rebounded from his intentionally missed shot. The NBA stated that since Sura’s shot was not legal (because he missed on purpose), he could not be rebounded.
“I am disappointed that my attempt at a third triple-double caused so much controversy,” Sura said at the time. “It was never my intention to make fun of our sport and divert attention from our huge win over the Nets. If anyone was offended by my actions, I sincerely apologize.”
Another — and funnier — example is what former Cleveland Cavaliers quarterback Ricky Davis tried almost 20 years ago. He passed to the Cavaliers side and hit from his basket to catch the rebound for his first career triple-double.
Clearly, shots to a team’s own basket do not count as a field goal attempt, and therefore a subsequent rebound does not count. Worse, Davis was immediately fouled by Utah Jazz defenseman DeShawn Stevenson after a try and by Jazz coach Jerry Sloane. said he would have knocked [Davis] on his butt.” Cavaliers fined Davis undisclosed amount.
Antetokounmpo has yet to get the same vitriol as Sura or Davis, but he has reopened the NBA. ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins started talking about adding to the stats. in February. Perkins claimed that Jokic, the MVP leader, missed more to improve his stats and get more triple-doubles. But after Antetokounmpo’s deliberate miss on Sunday night, Perkins tweeted “every player has increased their stats at some point in their career.”