If the Milwaukee Bucks are going to clinch an NBA Finals berth on Saturday night, they’ll have to do it without Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Moments ago, the Bucks ruled out Antetokounmpo for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals due to a hyperextended left knee. He was originally listed as doubtful on Friday.
Antetokounmpo avoided any structural damage to his left knee, but the two-time MVP isn’t ready to rejoin his teammates just yet.
The starting lineup for the Bucks played extremely well without Antetokounmpo in Game 5. Brook Lopez led the charge with 33 points and seven rebounds.
The Bucks have officially listed Giannis Antetokounmpo as out (left knee hyperextension) for Game 6 tonight on today’s injury report.
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) July 3, 2021
Milwaukee will need a similar performance from its starters if it wants to defeat Atlanta on the road. That means Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton will need to be sharp from the get-go.
In the event the Hawks even up this series and force a Game 7, Antetokounmpo may receive the “green light” to play on Monday night. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Milwaukee is optimistic that Antetokounmpo could suit up in a do-or-die game.
That being said, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters that his players should be able to overcome the loss of Antetokounmpo.
“We’ve played games without Giannis, without Khris [Middleton], without Jrue [Holiday], without whoever it may be, and so hopefully you have a structure and a system where you can function at a high level on both ends of the court no matter who is playing,” Budenholzer said.
Tipoff for Game 6 is at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.