A full solar eclipse? Aaron Rodgers making the Super Bowl? There are certain things which might happen an average of once every few decades… and a 10-second free throw violation being called in an NBA playoff game is one of them. It happened to Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks in Saturday's postseason opener against the Miami Heat.
Casting aside this Bucks playoff opener, we have seen several players over the course of NBA history take their time on free throws. Karl Malone is one superstar-level NBA player who conspicuously took his time at the foul line, giving himself a personal monologue before shooting. A handful of other players with long, drawn-out shooting routines often came very close to the 10-second mark.
Yet, much like lane violations and palming violations, some of the rules of basketball simply aren't enforced very regularly. The 10-second time violation for shooting a free throw is certainly part of this list. Antetokounmpo and the Bucks were nailed for it, and Milwaukee certainly could have used the extra foul shot.
The Bucks and Heat — at press time — just did go to overtime at 99-99.
NBA reporter Anthony Slater of The Athletic noted that the Heat had seen Giannis was taking his time, and were lobbying for the 10-second call earlier in the game against the Bucks:
Credit Caron Butler for drawing that crucial Giannis 10-second free throw call. He was begging for it a few possessions earlier, counting out the seconds (top of the screen) and staying on the refs before his next trip to the line. pic.twitter.com/pkrgGSAHim
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 22, 2021
If you needed any more evidence that it is important to work the refs and fight for a call over the course of 48 full regulation minutes, this is just another example. The Bucks have played quality defense in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference first-round series. Jimmy Butler missed 17 of his first 20 shots. Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Tyler Herro missed 25 of their first 30 shots combined.
That the Bucks haven't yet been able to close down the Heat in Game 1 offers cause for concern in Milwaukee, since the Butler-Bam-Herro trio is highly unlikely to shoot this poorly as a group for the remainder of the series.