According to NBA sources, Milwaukee Bucks’ superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has no structural damage in his knee, but could be out for the remainder of the playoffs.
There is no structural damage to Giannis Antetokounmpo's left knee after his awkward landing last night in Atlanta; ligaments are sound, sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me. Timetable to return is unclear.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2021
Thanasis helping Giannis 🥺
— Bally Sports Wisconsin (@BallySportWI) June 30, 2021
Giannis sustained the injury in the third quarter of last night’s blowout loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals. At first, many speculated that the injury was a torn ACL. Had this been the case, Giannis would not only have missed the rest of these playoffs, but most if not all of next season as well.
Though nothing is official yet, it should be Bobby Portis who replaces Giannis in the starting lineup.
Best thing about getting knocked down is that you can either stay down or get back up. God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers! Stay locked in!
— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) June 30, 2021
So far in the Eastern Conference Finals, Portis is averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in just over 17 minutes per contest.
Additionally, it will be vital to Milwaukee’s success for Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to play consistently. Middleton saved the day in Game Three, scoring 20 points to lead the Bucks to victory and a series lead. Holiday, who has had good games in the playoffs this season, is marred in a shooting slump for this series.
Keys to Winning the East
Without a doubt, winning the East just became more difficult without Giannis. However, the Bucks can still pull off a series victory if they can do the following things:
- As mentioned, Middleton and Holiday must play consistent basketball on both ends of the court.
- The Bucks must attack inside. Clint Capela is a capable defender, but outside of him the Hawks do not have great interior defense. When Milwaukee has focused on attacking the paint, they have won. Giannis, of course, was a large part of this. However, Middleton and Holiday, along with other Bucks’ players, must work inside instead of settling for low-percentage three point shots.
- Just play smart basketball. Much of this is reliant on Coach Budenholzer, who has his team missing out on some fundamental basketball skills such as boxing out, inbounding the ball, and not leaving shooters wide open. It seems so simple, but that has been the frustration of Bucks’ fans this season.
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