Thanasis Antetokounmpo ejected for headbutting Blake Griffin in Celtics-Bucks garbage time

A clash of the top teams in the Eastern Conference turned into a total dud Thursday, but Thanasis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks added some late drama anyway.

The older Antetokounmpo brother was ejected for headbutting Blake Griffin after receiving a hard foul from the Celtics big man in garbage time of the Bucks’ 140-99 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics. A scrum between the two teams quickly developed, with Antetokounmpo being pulled off the court by a Bucks staffer.

Antetokounmpo received a flagrant two foul for his efforts, while Griffin got a flagrant one for coming down on him so hard during the play.

Odds are that ejection won’t be the only punishment Antetokounmpo sees for that play.

The Celtics at least had some fun after the drama, as Jaylen Brown offered his protective mask to an amused Griffin.

Neither athlete was a featured player in the game. Antetokounmpo finished with one point, one assist and three fouls in seven minutes, while Griffin had four points, one assist and three fouls in six minutes.

The larger story of the game was an out-of-nowhere stomping by the Celtics, who currently sit in second behind only the Bucks in the East. The Bucks entered the game effectively at full strength, but while playing their third game in four nights they watched Boston open up a chasmic lead in the second quarter.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo (43) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo (43) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Thanasis Antetkounmpo should probably get ready to sit out a game or two. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The Celtics finished the game shooting 22-of-43 (51.2%) from 3-point range with only eight turnovers. Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 40 points on 12-of-18 shooting (8-of-10 from deep) with eight rebounds, while Brown had 30 points, five rebounds and five assists.

The win puts the Celtics two games behind the Bucks for the East’s top seed; each team has five games remaining in the regular season. At the very least, it’s an encouraging performance ahead of the playoffs for a team that seemed to take a step backward after the All-Star break.

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