(670 The Score) It takes a lot to get Bulls coach Billy Donovan to levy criticism at anyone publicly, but that’s how heated he was about Milwaukee Bucks guard Grayson Allen’s flagrant-2 foul on Chicago guard Alex Caruso on Friday evening.
Allen was ejected after fouling Caruso on a transition play with 5:45 left in the third quarter of the Bucks’ eventual 94-90 win at Fiserv Forum. Allen’s left hand initially fouled Caruso on what was widely viewed as a clean action, but then he followed through by swinging his right hand and hitting an off-balance Caruso hard. Caruso awkwardly landed hard on his right wrist, arm and shoulder and later called Allen’s actions “bull****.”
“It’s really bad,” Donovan said. “It was really, really bad. And I’ll just say this – we lost Patrick (Williams), on a flagrant foul, to a pretty significant injury (in late October). And I said this after the game, I think it was against New York and Mitchell Robinson, I think Mitchell Robinson was trying to make a legitimate play on the basketball and it happened to be a flagrant. There are times there's flagrant fouls. But you know, for Alex to be in the air like and for him to take him down like that, you could’ve ended his career. And he has a history of this. And that to me was really dangerous. I really hope the league takes a hard look at something like that, because they could’ve really, really seriously hurt him."
Allen has a history of dirty plays and fouls dating back to his college career at Duke, where he had a series of incidents in which he tripped opponents.
“I just think to do that to a player is just really, really – I mean, he could have really, really jeopardized his career in a lot of ways,” Donovan said. “I don’t know what his response will be to it – maybe he didn’t mean to do it. I don’t know. I just know the play looked really, really bad on a guy who’s got a history of doing that all the way back into college. I hope the league takes a hard look at something like that, because god forbid this guy was in a stretcher going out of the building right now. That would not be good.
Listen, I know this is a physical game and there’s plays at the basket and there’s a lot of contact and things like that, but there’s a right way you can go up and have physicality – but not that way, in my opinion.”
Caruso described the play from his perspective as well.
“I went up, was going to try to two-hand flush a little dunk in transition,” Caruso said. “Didn’t’ really know really what happened during the play, but afterward in looking at, the dude just grabbed me out of the air. Kind of bull****, I don’t know what else you can do about it. Just glad that I didn’t have any major, major scary injuries right away.”
Caruso called his right wrist “a little sore” and added it limited his shooting the rest of the game. He was asked about Allen’s history of dirty plays dating back to his Duke, but Caruso instead offered a classic line instead of rendering much judgment on that front.
“To be honest, I don’t watch much Duke basketball,” Caruso said. “I don’t watch a lot of any basketball other than the team I’m with. I don’t have anything to comment on that.”
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer didn’t believe Allen’s actions had malicious intent but also didn’t argue with the officials ejecting him, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
“It's a close call and they went with flagrant-2, and I'm not going to disagree,” Budenholzer said. “It's right on the border, and that's the direction they went.”
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for 670TheScore.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.