Damian Lillard has missed the last two games for the Milwaukee Bucks due to a calf injury. It’s probably no coincidence that the Bucks have lost both games.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was an absolute beast in both contests but in the end, not even his heroics were enough to carry Milwaukee against the Indiana Pacers or the Orlando Magic.
Damian Lillard the Difference Maker
Speaking to reporters after their demeaning 112-97 loss to Orlando, Giannis got brutally honest about not having his superstar teammate available. According to Antetokounmpo, it’s highly likely that the Bucks would not have lost back-to-back games if only Dame were around:
“It’s hard because you don’t have your guy you can just give the ball and just like, go to your spot and have him make a play for himself or for the team,” Giannis said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “And a guy that can score. He can score the ball for us. Like, Indiana being up 10 in six minutes to go and we have Dame – we don’t lose that game.
“Down the stretch he’s going to make a big play for us, he’s going to go to the free throw line, he’s going to make a good pass for open three or he’s going to hit me in the pocket. He’s going to make something happen. Obviously I hope he gets healthy and gets back as fast as possible. But (a) calf can be kind of tricky.”
The good news for the Bucks is that Lillard is on his way back. Milwaukee has officially listed him as probable to play on Monday against the Chicago Bulls, and it appears that his most recent injury spell will be a brief one. It goes without saying that this will be a massive boost for a struggling Bucks side.
Milwaukee Bucks’ Depth Issues
The Bucks had to turn to summer recruit Cameron Payne for the squad’s playmaking duties sans Lillard. The 29-year-old got the start in the two games that Dame had been sidelined, and Payne responded with 10.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.0 steals in 27.8 minutes per contest.
Giannis heaped praise on Payne and the veteran’s ability to step up to the plate when his number was called. However, even Antetokounmpo could not help but point out Milwaukee’s lack of depth at the point guard position:
“But at the end of the day, you need somebody that’s a ball handler out there. Cam, both games, I feel like Cam has been incredible at making plays for himself and for the team and defensively he’s guarded people and making it tough for people. But we only have one point guard out there.”
Bucks fans are just hoping that Lillard and Payne don’t go down injured at the same time.
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