Bucks vs. Celtics: Record Low Free Throws in NBA History

Bucks vs. Celtics: Record Low Free Throws in NBA History


In a stunning display of basketball history, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics recently etched their names into the NBA record books by combining for a mere two free throw attempts in a single game. This record-low tally of foul shots came during the Bucks' 104-91 victory over the Celtics, leaving fans and analysts alike astounded by the rarity of the occurrence.

The sole contributor to this minuscule total was Milwaukee's superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who stepped to the line twice and converted just one of his attempts. This statistical anomaly left the Celtics as the first team in NBA history to complete a game without a single free throw attempt—an unprecedented feat that underscored the unique nature of the contest.

Following the game, Bucks coach Doc Rivers couldn't help but marvel at the brevity of the proceedings, quipping, "Man, [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver's the happiest. 1:57 game time. My goodness, you can go to a game and still have dinner. Unbelievable." Rivers' wry humor encapsulated the disbelief shared by many observers as they processed the remarkable outcome.

Rivers admitted that he hadn't realized the extent of the free throw scarcity until after the final buzzer sounded. "I thought it was a physical game," he remarked, "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.'"

Indeed, the historic game was a testament to the rarity of such low foul counts in the NBA. Prior to this matchup, the record for the fewest combined free throw attempts in a game was shared by the Memphis Grizzlies and Atlanta Hawks, who each managed just one attempt in separate contests. The Bucks' remarkably disciplined defense on the night was further highlighted by their league-record-low total of four personal fouls committed throughout the game—a testament to their ability to play staunch defense without resorting to fouling.

While the lack of free throws may have caught some by surprise, Boston's Jayson Tatum offered a plausible explanation, suggesting that the officiating may have been geared towards preparing teams for the rigors of playoff basketball. "Maybe just gearing up for the playoffs," Tatum mused. "They're going to let a lot of things go, I guess just getting us ready for playoff basketball."

What made this record-breaking performance even more astonishing was the presence of prolific free throw shooters on both teams. Antetokounmpo, who entered the game leading the league in free throw attempts, was joined by the likes of Milwaukee's Damian Lillard and Boston's Jayson Tatum—both of whom ranked among the top ten in free throw attempts this season. Despite their ability to draw fouls and get to the line, the game unfolded in a manner that defied expectations and statistical norms.

Players and coaches alike noted a broader trend of declining foul calls across the league as the season progressed—a trend that was clearly evident in the historic matchup between the Bucks and Celtics. Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard reflected on the shifting officiating landscape, remarking, "It was weird, but it seems to be the trend. Fouls are not a part of the game no more." Lillard's observations echoed sentiments shared by many players who have noticed a decrease in whistle-blowing and a greater emphasis on allowing physical play.

Despite the shock and awe generated by the record-low free throw total, players acknowledged the need to adapt to the changing dynamics of officiating. Lillard, who recently fouled out of a game late in the season, emphasized the importance of adjusting to the flow of the game, stating, "You've just got to roll with however the game is going."

As the NBA season progresses and teams gear up for the playoffs, the historic matchup between the Bucks and Celtics serves as a reminder of the unpredictability and excitement that basketball can deliver. While free throws may be a fundamental aspect of the game, their scarcity in this particular contest only added to the intrigue and drama of the night—an unforgettable moment in the annals of NBA history.


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