The Eastern Conference Finals swings back to Milwaukee on Thursday night as the hobbled Bucks face off with the Atlanta Hawks in a pivotal Game 5. After a devastating Game 4 loss, that saw star player Giannis Antetokounmpo go down with a serious knee injury, the Bucks will need to come to Fiserv Forum ready to play.
Antetokounmpo was diagnosed with a hyperextended knee after he landed awkwardly while trying to defend an alley-oop on Tuesday. Thankfully, he avoided any structural damage, but it’s unclear if and when he’ll be able to return during the series.
Although his playing status might be in doubt, the two-time MVP is doing his best to rally Bucks fans together before tonight’s important game. He took to Twitter to send out a message to fans earlier this afternoon.
“This is our house! Be loud tonight,” Antetokounmpo tweeted ahead of Thursday’s Game 5.
This is our house! Be loud tonight 🙏🏽
— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) July 1, 2021
No official update has been given on Antetokounmpo’s availability for tonight, but this tweet signals that he probably won’t be taking the floor tonight. The Bucks latest injury report listed the two-time MVP as doubtful for Game 5.
Head coach Mike Budenholzer will need to be up to the task on Thursday when it comes to trying to replace Antetokounmpo. Bobby Portis will likely see significantly more playing time as he did in Game 4, but the Bucks will probably opt to use Pat Connaughton and Bryn Forbes to help fill the void left on offense.
The Hawks themselves will be banged up with Trae Young and Clint Capela both listed as questionable for Game 5. Even if both players are able to give it a go, neither one is expected to be at full strength.
Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Bucks and the Hawks tips off Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.