Antetokounmpo suspended after head-butting Wagner

New York, United States – Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo was suspended for one game after head-butting Washington Wizards center Moritz Wagner during a game, the league said Wednesday (Thursday Philippine time).

Moritz Wagner (21) of the Washington Wizards and Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) of the Milwaukee Bucks argue with the referee during the first half at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 11, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. AFP
The Milwaukee Bucks star was ejected from the contest after the incident in the second quarter of the Bucks 126-113 victory Tuesday over the Wizards.

Antetokounmpo was contrite after the game, admitting he let his emotions get the better of him after he was fouled multiple times in the quarter.

"Terrible action," Antetokounmpo said. "If I could go back and turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn't do it. But at the end of the day, we're all human, we all make mistakes.

"I think I've done a great job all year, in my career, of keeping my composure and focusing on the game, but like I said, we're human, we make mistakes. But at the end of the day, learn from it, keep playing good basketball and keep moving forward."

Meanwhile, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who twice guided his squad into the NBA Eastern Conference finals, has signed a contract extension with the club, the team announced Wednesday (Thursday Philippine time).

Details of the deal were not disclosed but it came with the Celtics at 48-23 and seeded third in the Eastern Conference playoffs that begin next week, their sixth post-season appearance in seven seasons under Stevens.

"Brad is one of the most intelligent and hard-working coaches in the game today," said Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. "More importantly, his character and integrity have contributed to a culture that we all highly value.

"Brad is a great teammate and a leader people want to follow. We are honored to have him with us as we continue to pursue our next championship."

Stevens, who took charge of the Celtics in July 2013, has a 318-245 record in nearly seven full seasons with Boston.

"We're thrilled that Brad Stevens will continue to be our coach," Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca said. "He has become one of the best coaches in the NBA, and is a real leader on and off the court."

Stevens, 43, coached Boston into the 2017 and 2018 East finals, the first time the Celtics went that far in back-to-back campaigns since the 1987 and 1988 playoffs.

Antetokounmpo admitted he took his frustrations out on Wagner, even though the Wizards big man was just a handy target.

"I think it was just the whole, like, build-up of dirty plays in my mind. Guys tripping me, guys falling in front of my feet, holding me, hitting me," he said. "I don't have nothing against Wagner, it wasn't just him."

The Bucks have already clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

But Antetokounmpo's absence could be a boon for their next opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies, who are trying to fight their way into the Western Conference playoff field as the NBA wraps up a regular season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Topics: Giannis Antetokounmpo , Moritz Wagner , NBA , Milwaukee Bucks , Washington Wizards
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