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Giannis Antetokounmpo: Celtics ‘play to the limits’ of flagrant fouling

The Boston Celtics are employing a trademark physical style of play in their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Milwaukee Bucks, and Giannis Antetokounmpo praised his opponents for recognizing how not to cross the line between aggressive and questionably dirty.

The Bucks evened up the series at one game apiece courtesy of an impressive 123-102 victory Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum, and Antetokounmpo credited the Celtics for playing physical basketball to the limits without earning flagrant fouls.

“You can play to the limits of fouling,” Antetokounmpo said after the game, per Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill. “They definitely play to the limits of [flagrant] fouling. Now, you gotta [expletive] play. You can’t complain to the refs; you gotta play.”

Antetokounmpo’s comment about not complaining to the refs certainly ought to resonate for those following the NBA postseason, especially in light of the controversy surrounding officiating in the Golden State Warriors-Houston Rockets series.

That said, it was Boston’s physical brand of basketball that seemed to catch Milwaukee off-guard in Sunday’s 112-90 Game 1 loss. After the aggressiveness displayed by Aron Baynes, Al Horford and Marcus Morris Sr. in Game 1, the Bucks came into Game 2 prepared to withstand the pounding.

“When they hit you, you get off-balance,” Antetokounmpo said. “You gotta be able to play through the contact, and it’s gonna be a lot of contact this series. If that’s how it’s gonna be, that’s how it’s gonna be.”

Antetokounmpo led the way with 29 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in the Game 2 victory, and going to the foul line 18 times in 31 minutes of play certainly helped.

“How much extra can you get? You can get physical, but at the end of the day, I can use that to my advantage,” Antetokounmpo said.

Expect more of the same when the Bucks and Celtics meet in Game 3 Friday night at TD Garden.