Giannis Antetokounmpo insists he will not be looking to the officials for protection in the playoffs despite Andre Drummond's rugged attempts to disrupt his flow.
The Milwaukee Bucks star led his side to a dominant 121-86 home win over the Detroit Pistons in Game 1 of their first-round series on Sunday, contributing 24 points and 17 rebounds.
Antetokounmpo carried on where he left off in the regular season and opponent Drummond had no answer, earning a flagrant two foul and an ejection after shoving the Greek to the floor.
The 24-year-old was asked if he might expect similar treatment throughout the playoffs after an MVP-calibre season, but he was not too concerned.
Replay Review (Game Crew): if foul committed by Drummond met criteria for a flagrant foul in Q3 of #DETatMIL. Ruling: Flagrant foul penalty 2 assessed to Drummond for making unnecessary and excessive contact with Antetokounmpo, Drummond ejected. pic.twitter.com/ygWjUIXz4a— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) April 15, 2019
"As a team, we've talked about it. We try to keep our composure," Antetokounmpo told a news conference. "If the opposing team try to foul us hard or try to hit us or play dirty, we need to keep our composure and do our job. Our job is to win games.
"I'm not going to look to the referees for protection. I've just got to play smart and try to avoid the situations."
Coach Mike Budenholzer was similarly not worried by the way Drummond handled the Bucks' top performer.
"I actually didn't see any of the replays," he said. "It seemed pretty obvious in the heat of the moment that it was a flagrant one.
"He gave him a good push. It's part of the playoffs and, besides obviously being a flagrant, it didn't seem like anything. It's part of the game."