This is a joke, right? Like some sort of sick ruse being perpetrated on Bucks fans? Please make it stop.
The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 104-97 on Wednesday night, but once again the game itself was overshadowed by a nasty-looking injury to one of Milwaukee's key players.
Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered an ankle injury late in the first half as he drove to the basket (for what probably would have been a really awesome dunk too). Giannis turned his left ankle as he went up for the shot, reacted to the pain in midair, and came down hard on the court. Antetokounmpo remained down under the basket for a few minutes before he was thankfully able to leave the court largely under his own power. He was declared out for the second half but was reportedly doing some running outside the locker room, temporarily easing fans away from the cliff. Antetokounmpo finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds in 18 minutes before exiting.
The immediate diagnosis was a sprained ankle, something that would sound relatively benign if we hadn't just gone through the ringer on sprains vs. tears vs. catastrophic disintegration with Jabari Parker. Further tests will likely be done in the coming days, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if Giannis was held out of tomorrow's game in Sacramento (if the ankle injury is severe enough, the Bucks may be reluctant to put him on a plane at all right away). With any luck (they gotta be due, right?) a few days of rest will fix things up and Giannis will be back on the court soon.
As for the game itself, things unfolded in relatively predictable fashion, with Damian Lillard (29 pts, 7 asts) and LaMarcus Aldridge (23 pts, 15 rebs) doing the brunt of the scoring for Portland while Brandon Knight (24 pts, 10-19 FG) led the way for Milwaukee. Khris Middleton added 17 points off the bench, hitting 4 of 6 three-pointers and 5-12 overall.
The story figured to be Portland's big, talented frontcourt against Milwaukee's suddenly sparse counterpart, and the numbers bear it out. With Larry Sanders and Zaza Pachulia the only true big men at Milwaukee's disposal, Portland predictably dominated the glass. Aldridge and Thomas Robinson grabbed 31 rebounds as a pair in 64 combined minutes. The Bucks collected 32 rebounds as a team in the entire game. Portland's 16-5 edge in offensive rebounds was critical in the loss, as the two teams had otherwise similar stats: Both squads hit 7 three-pointers, and the free throw and turnover margins were nearly zero. But the final margin might have been even wider if not for a Robinson-targeted string of intentional fouls employed by Jason Kidd late in the game. Robinson finished 5-15 from the stripe.
The Bucks weren't the only team to endure a scary-looking fall tonight. Nicolas Batum crashed to the floor after swinging on the rim after a dunk, but he was down only briefly and didn't have to exit the game. Replays appeared to show Larry Sanders giving Batum a small push in the back as he went up for the dunk. A video review saddled Sanders with a Flagrant Foul 1, but there didn't appear to be any malicious intent on his part and Batum seemed to shake off the spill shortly thereafter.