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Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Bucks-Heat Game 5

Giannis Antetokounmpo in Bucks-Heat Game 4

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 06: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks exits the game after an injury during the second quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 06, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

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The Bucks entered the playoffs with a chance to win a championship and secure a long-term commitment from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Now, they’re just trying not to lose in the second round.

And – down 3-1 – they’ll have to avoid elimination in Game 5 against the Heat tonight without Antetokounmpo, who injured his ankle in Game 4.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Milwaukee performed well without Antetokounmpo during the regular season, and that has mostly continued against Miami. The Bucks without Antetokounmpo in this series:

  • Game 1: +3 in 11 minutes
  • Game 2: +5 in 12 minutes
  • Game 3: -2 in 13 minutes
  • Game 4: +1 in 37 minutes

Rallying to win Game 4 after Antetokounmpo’s injury was particularly impressive.

But don’t overthink this. Antetokounmpo is the reigning MVP and likely back-to-back MVP. This is a HUGE loss. Though he wasn’t meeting expectations in this series, Antetokounmpo was definitely a positive contributor.

Even more pressure will land on Khris Middleton to generate offense. George Hill and Eric Bledsoe can chip in. But Milwaukee is short on creators.

Defensively, the Bucks’ paint-protection system relies on the unique skills of Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez. Will Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer vary his scheme sans Antetokounmpo?

The Bucks can win this game and maybe extend the series long enough to get Antetokounmpo back (and make adjustments to get him flowing again). But each step will be difficult, starting with winning tonight without their best player.