Following the Detroit Pistons 127-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo accused the Pistons of wanting to play dirty and that they crossed the line against him.
“They just play hard,” Antetokounmpo told media members. “They want to be physical, they want to be dirty, they want you to get out of your game. Whenever you come in Detroit you expect that. Nothing that happened tonight wasn’t expected.”
On Friday, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey responded to Antetokounmpo's claim, saying his team wants to play physical, not dirty.
From The Detroit News:
“I cringe when people say we’re playing dirty basketball and all that stuff. We want to play physical; we want to play clean, physical, hard-nosed basketball,” Casey said before Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. “We’re not trying to be the Bad Boys — there’s only one Bad Boys group — but I cringed when people said our guys were playing dirty the other night against Antetokounmpo. Nowhere even close.”
Casey said it wasn’t a matter of trying to be tougher against Antetokounmpo, it’s just something that needs to be developed and possibly taught.
“I think you have to have a physical DNA first. The only way I know how to teach it is to create it as a habit,” he said. “You can’t do it just one night against a great player; you have to do it each and every night and make it a habit.
“Physical is not just on the defensive end; it’s physical screens and it’s being physical taking the ball to the hoops with taking it through tough bodies and getting hit through physicality on their defensive end.”