The NBA has rescinded Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 10th rebound from the Milwaukee Bucks‘ 117-111 win over the Washington Wizards on Sunday, thus eliminating what was originally his fourth triple-double of the season. Antetokounmpo had attempted to stat-pad his way to the mark.
When Corey Kispert missed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds remaining, the Wizards were ready to concede. All that was left was for the Bucks to dribble out the clock, but Antetokounmpo had other ideas. The two-time MVP had grabbed Kispert’s errant shot for his ninth rebound of the game, and was just one board shy of a triple-double. So he hustled down to the other end of the floor, and with one second remaining intentionally missed a layup so he could get the offensive rebound.
While that was initially counted as his 10th rebound, league rules state that in order for a shot attempt to be official, the player has to take it “with intent to score a field-goal.” As Antetokounmpo did not do so, his flip at the rim was not an official attempt, which meant there could be no rebound.
Antetokounmpo finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, 13 assists and three blocks on the night, in what was another strong performance regardless of whether he got a triple-double. But it’s always a little bit sweeter when you hit that mark, and Antetokounmpo knew exactly what he was doing.
“I was thinking about scoring the ball, but I feel like in those situations it’s best to kind of keep the ball,” Antetokounmpo said. “But yeah, I just try to play the game smart and kind of stole one.”
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Antetokounmpo’s antics are, of course, reminiscent of the greatest stat-padding attempt in league history. Back in 2003, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Davis was one rebound shy of a triple-double with seven seconds remaining in what was about to be a 122-95 win over the Utah Jazz.
Instead of dribbling out the clock, he threw the ball of his own basket to try and get his 10th rebound, but the plan backfired in spectacular fashion. For one, missed shots on your own basket don’t count as attempts, so he wasn’t credited with a rebound and didn’t get his triple-double. He also got shoved by DeShawn Stevenson in the aftermath, berated by Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and fined an undisclosed amount by the team.
No such punishment will be forthcoming for Antetokounmpo, but he didn’t get his triple-double either.