NBA Suspends Giannis For Final Seeding Game

After head-butting Wizards big man Moritz Wagner yesterday, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been suspended by the NBA for the team’s regular season finale tomorrow against the Grizzlies, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Antetokounmpo, the likely 2019/20 NBA MVP, head-butted Wagner with 8:50 left to play in the game’s second quarter. He was immediately ejected, with a suspension for his conduct seemingly inevitable. The Bucks would go on to tally a win anyway. Milwaukee’s 126-113 victory marked the Wizards’ seventh consecutive loss in Orlando. Washington is currently winless during the NBA restart.

The 56-16 Bucks have the best record in the NBA, and have clinched the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. But the result of Thursday’s game could have significant implications for other teams.

The 33-39 Grizzlies will almost certainly need to win their bout against the Bucks to qualify for this weekend’s play-in tournament between the West’s eighth and ninth seeds, as Tim Bontemps of ESPN notes (Twitter link). Memphis could also clinch a play-in tournament appearance if both the 33-39 Suns and 32-38 Spurs lose their final seeding games, as Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Given how hot those teams have been though, the Grizzlies can’t afford to count on that.

If the 34-39 Trail Blazers lose their final seeding game tomorrow against the Nets, the Grizzlies would secure the eighth seed with a win, and would need to win just one of the two play-in games to qualify for a first-round playoff matchup against the top-seeded Lakers. The Grizzlies would be the ninth seed if they and the Blazers win, but as the ninth seed they would need to win both play-in games to advance.

A Grizzlies loss tomorrow to an Antetokounmpo-free Bucks squad would likely eliminate Memphis from the playoffs. This could have interesting draft implications for the Celtics, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe reminds us (Twitter link). Boston owns the Grizzlies’ first-round draft pick if it falls outside the top six picks this season, before becoming completely unprotected in 2021.

Were Memphis to fall into the draft lottery for 2020, the team would have a slim chance at a pick within the top six. If the Grizzlies get lucky in the lottery, the Celtics would instead receive the team’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick. A play-in series loss would also theoretically keep the Grizzlies’ chances at retaining their own 2020 pick alive.

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28 thoughts on “NBA Suspends Giannis For Final Seeding Game

  1. KnickerbockerAl

    Let’s go Bucks. Don’t want Grizz in playoffs. Rooting for Suns. Best matchup for Lakers. Go Suns !!

    • I give no fox

      You would rather play the hottest team in the bubble instead of the team that is on the verge of blowing their playoff spot and lost arguably their best offensive player? That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. It won’t matter, the lakers will most likely be playing the blazers…Dame is on another planet right now. Good luck with that

      • He’s a Bucks fan, why would he care who grabs the 8 seed out of the West?

        • I give no fox

          I read that as rooting for an easy matchup for the lakers…”best matchup for lakers” made me think for them to win…I stand corrected

      • KnickerbockerAl

        I’m a Knicks fan dude. All I care about is watching gd basketball. JC is hurt for Blazers. He’s not playing with a cracked back. So Suns would be most entertainment. Don’t care about Lakers either. I got Clippers in Vegas. But Suns vs Lakers would be a competitive series. That’s what I want.
        All who know me. Know I’ve been saying Clippers vs Bucks. Since before the all star break. And yes I’d love to see Suns beat Lakers. Go Suns ….

  2. Buckman

    As a lifelong Bucks-Packers-Brewers fan I know how often these teams are in contention (the Favre/Rodgers era was an anomaly)…not often. My hopes for the Bucks winning it all this year have dropped considerably during Bubble league games. That have looked inconsistent and unfocused. Giannis being goaded into head butting Wagner is case in point. I may be wrong and they may excel once the playoffs get started but I have not seen the same team so far. Advice to Giannis, next time someone pisses you off tell Ilyasova or Robin Lopez and let them take care of business! Let them enforce “Don’t f*** with Giannis” etiquette on the other team.

    • KnickerbockerAl

      Agree they have not looked gd. But that’s complacency. Which is not good either. I think they will wake up when playoffs start.

    • MikeWiz

      Eric Bledsoe will never win a championship so long as he’s playing major minutes. Maybe when he gets older and he’s only needed to rest an actual PG. Worst starting PG in the league. Only way Bucks are winning it is if he gets hurt or catches Covid before they make it to the eastern finals.

    • For all that Giannis has going for him (which is a lot), he hasn’t shown the fortitude to excel under the greatest pressure and difficult circumstances. His decision making last year was questionable and he seems to respond maturely to the criticism then and again with this incident. But it’s not something he can solve by going to the gym (where he clearly works like a champion).

      Funny that Bledsoe has earned a similar reputation. Great physical tools and talents. Ability to stay composed and find the winning path in any game? Not so much. Hardly the only players who have struggled with that burden, but it seems the team could use more good leaders in facing adversity. George Hill has been solid, but Giannis probably needed more leadership to guide his path if he would become a champion.

  3. That’s it? A single game that he probably wasn’t going to play in anyway? A lesser name gets a longer suspension, for sure.

    • HailRodgers12$

      And LeBron probably would have been given MVP on the spot. I’m not defending Giannis or the severity of of the punishment, but let’s not pretend that he’s the only star that has ever gotten a slap on the wrist for an incredibly dumb incident.

  4. Sucks for Suns fans. The Grizzlies now actually stand a chance to win without Giannis on the floor. They will then proceed to get spanked by Portland in the play-in game.

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      If Memphis wins and Portland loses to the Nets, then the Blazers need both the Spurs to lose to Utah AND for the Suns to lose to Dallas. So there’s still a decent chance Portland gets left out completely.

  5. wagner13

    As a Memphis fan, if the Grizzlies blow this golden opportunity they deserve to miss the playoffs. A Bucks team without their best player or an incentive to try? Please don’t mess this up

    • harden-westbrook-mvps

      If they win and the Blazers lose to the unexpectedly hot Nets, then Memphis gets the #8 spot and only needs one win to advance.

    • KnickerbockerAl

      No Jackson. Don’t see it. Without Jackson they lost their chance then. Just like Blazers losing CJ. Even if they win to play Lakers. Not beating them. It’s Im rooting for Suns sorry. Just want to see competition man.

      • wagner13

        Hey, that’s fine. Root for whomever. I just want to see my team succeed

  6. KnickerbockerAl

    Come on now. Bucks don’t need the MVP to beat Grizzlies. They better show up.

    • wagner13

      The sad reality is that the NBA is too afraid of giving their superstars a legitimate punishment in the postseason. Giannis probably should’ve been suspended for the first game against Orlando. Not that it really would’ve made much of a difference, but it sets a promising precedent

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