The Milwaukee Bucks will likely be down their top player when they host the Atlanta Hawks in a crucial Game 5 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful for the contest after sustaining a hyperextended left knee in the Bucks’ Game 4 loss in Atlanta on Tuesday. The two-time NBA MVP took a nasty fall in the third quarter while going up to contest a shot from Hawks center Clint Capela and did not return to the game. The Hawks were up 10 points at the time and went on to win 110-88.
Antetokounmpo is not the first superstar to go down in this series. In a playoffs riddled with injuries to marquee players, Trae Young suffered a deep bone bruise in his right foot after stepping on a referee’s foot in Game 3 and did not play in Game 4. The Hawks point guard will be a game-time decision for Game 5, according to head coach Nate McMillan, as both teams look to gain a 3-2 series advantage.
The Greek Freak was having a stellar postseason up to this point. After sweeping the Miami Heat in the first round, Antetokounmpo helped lift the Bucks over the Brooklyn Nets in the second round with a monstrous Game 7 performance. He joined Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players with 10 or more games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in a single postseason since 1963. He averaged 30.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game in the first three matchups of the series against the Hawks.
The Bucks are looking to win their first championship since 1971 and reach their first NBA Finals since 1974. If they want to make it back in 2021, it may be up to Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday to lead the charge.