CHICAGO — Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen found himself in the middle of yet another controversial foul call during a game against the Chicago Bulls, when Allen got knocked to the floor while driving to the basket in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 127-106 victory after a hard foul from Bulls center Nikola Vucevic.
Vucevic, who was fouled from behind by Bucks center Brook Lopez on the play, received a dead ball technical foul for the contact on Allen after a replay review.
However, Vucevic maintained after the game that he did not intend to target or foul Allen, who has been the subject of ire for Chicago fans ever since a flagrant foul 2 on Bulls guard Alex Caruso in January resulted in a fractured right wrist for Caruso.
“My intention wasn’t to foul or injure him or anything,” Vucevic said after the game. “I got pushed a little bit, and as I tried to go and swipe at the ball, I think it just looked worse in the moment. When you look at the replay, it’s not even that bad. I don’t even understand why I got a tech for it.”
Knowing the history between the two teams, Vucevic said he spoke to Allen and a few Bucks players on the floor after the play to clear up his intentions.
“I didn’t make anything of it,” Allen said. “I honestly didn’t hear the whistle and I don’t think he heard the whistle either. I had the ball in my left hand, so I think he was coming across my body to make a play on the ball.”
Allen was also on the receiving end of a hard foul the last time these two teams played in Chicago last month, when Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. delivered a hip check and hit Allen in the face with his elbow while trying to defend him driving to the basket. Although Jones said he was simply trying to “get a stop,” he received a flagrant foul 1.
On Tuesday, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he believed Vucevic should have received at least a flagrant foul as well.
“Yeah, I think it crossed the line,” Budenholzer said. “The refs thought it was not enough to be flagrant. … Basically said they looked at it 4-5 times. He didn’t think there was a windup. He didn’t think [it met] whatever the criteria was.”
As they did the last time the Bucks were in town, Bulls fans continued to boo Allen every time he touched the ball Tuesday. When Vucevic’s foul sent Allen to the floor, the crowd erupted in celebration.
The Bulls clinched their first playoff berth since the 2016-17 season on Tuesday thanks to a Cleveland Cavaliers loss, while the Bucks’ victory gave them the same record as both the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. Because of tiebreakers, the Bucks are currently the No. 3 seed in the East and the Bulls are the No. 6 seed, which means if the standings hold, they would meet in the first round of the playoffs.