As the first round series of the NBA playoffs shifts to South Beach, the Milwaukee Bucks are still an unknown entity. Entering the postseason with the highest of aspirations, fans had the wind taken out of their sails when Giannis Antetokounmpo hit the deck hard after only a handful of minutes in Game One against the Miami Heat.
Giannis, who had been upgraded to questionable for Game Two before ultimately being held out for the lopsided Milwaukee home victory, is said to be a “game-time decision” for Game Three in Miami. From The Athletic:
Going into the second weekend of the NBA playoffs, the health and playing statuses of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ja Morant continue to loom over two series.
Both appear set to be game-time decisions on Saturday night.
I’m told Giannis very much wanted to go in Game 2 against the Heat, a game his team would ultimately win despite his absence, but the team wanted to take advantage of the stretched-out schedule. If there are no setbacks and he is able to return on Saturday, he will have had nearly one week of recovery time. The gamble, so far, has paid off for Milwaukee as the Bucks manage what they hope to be a long playoff run.
As usual, the Bucks organization plays the long game. With nothing found on x-rays or an MRI, rest is the best remedy for the injury. In this instance, it seems to be working out; with two days following both Games One and Two, the Greek Freak has had ample time to receive treatment in Milwaukee following his fall. As it happens, the Bucks didn’t need him on Wednesday and an argument can be made that Miami doesn’t present enough of a challenge to demand his presence in Game Three either.
Considering the Bucks have a considerable size advantage over Miami (Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis combined for 38 points on 26 shots in Game Two) and are still working two wings back into the rotation (Grayson Allen and Pat Connaughton each missed time with ankle sprains), I wouldn’t be surprised if the team sat Giannis again on Saturday, or even if they leave him out for the pair of games in Florida. Milwaukee can beat the Heat sans-Giannis so, if Games Three and Four go the Bucks’ way, it makes sense that Giannis could return in Milwaukee for Game 5. The Bucks have no incentive to rush anything right now, so playing it safe may be the case for the next few days.