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Boston Celtics become first team in NBA history to shoot zero free throws in a game during bizarre loss to Milwaukee Bucks
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Boston Celtics become first team in NBA history to shoot zero free throws in a game during bizarre loss to Milwaukee Bucks

Jun 24, 2024


There are certain statistics that you just never expect to see in sports, and the Boston Celtics recorded perhaps one of the most unlikely milestones of all time.

During the team’s 104-91 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, the Celtics became the first team in NBA history to shoot zero free throws in a game.

To make matters even more bizarre, the Bucks only shot two, meaning the two teams set a new record for the fewest total free throws shot during an NBA game.

The Bucks also committed just four fouls all game, the fewest in NBA history.

“Man, Adam Silver’s the happiest,” Bucks head coach Doc Rivers said, referring to the NBA commissioner, per ESPN. “One hour 57 [minutes] game time. My goodness, you can go to a game and still have dinner. Unbelievable.

“I thought it was a physical game and then they handed me the stat sheet, and I told them: ‘No, I need the full game.’

“I thought it was the halftime stats. I didn’t look at the minutes and then I said: ‘Wow, two free throws for a basketball game. That’s crazy.’”

Ahead of the 2021-22 season, the NBA made a rule change that stated referees should not award fouls drawn by players using “overt, abrupt or abnormal non-basketball moves.”

The change was made due to players such as James Harden, Trae Young and Luka Dončić consistently being able to draw fouls with unusual shooting motions that, at the time, were within the rules.

The previous record low for free throws shot by a team during a game was one, which was held jointly by the Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks, while the lowest combined total was 11 set by Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic in 2019, per ESPN.

“It was weird, but it seems to be the trend,” Bucks guard Damian Lillard said. “Fouls are not a part of the game no more.

“It’s like, I’ve had times where I thought I was getting fouled and there’s been other times where I was surprised a foul didn’t get called on me, where I might bump somebody or get a piece of somebody’s arm and they don’t call it, and I’m like: ‘Man, they’re really just letting us play.’

Antetokounmpo is helped off the court by teammates after suffering a calf injury.

“And then, like the other night, I fouled out with like two minutes left in the game. I fouled out twice in our last five games or something like that. I hadn’t fouled out in I don’t know how long before this. You’ve just got to roll with however the game is going. Tonight, I hardly remember any whistles.”

It was a huge win for a Bucks team that had been on a four-game losing streak and had won just once in its previous seven games.

However, it wasn’t all good news as star man Giannis Antetokounmpo, who shot the only two free throws of the game, had to be helped off the court with a calf injury.

Rivers said his level of concern over the injury was “high.”

“He’s Giannis,” Rivers added. “I think everyone probably feels the same way as I do right now. We’re just going to hope for the best.”

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