In Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals Giannis Antetokounmko suffered a hyper-extended knee in a tangle up with Clint Capela at the rim. Despite a postgame MRI that showed no structural damage to the ligaments in the knee, the Bucks organization is opting to take the safe route with Giannis and hold him out of a critical Game 5.
ESPN sources have stated that Giannis’s return timetable is unclear, and many rumors are circulating that he may be done for the playoffs.
This would be a devastating blow for the Milwaukee Bucks who are currently tied 2-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. If Giannis ends up missing the next 2 games for the bucks, or even the remainder of the playoffs, it would elevate the Atlanta Hawks chances in playing in the NBA Finals.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Giannis is expected to undergo further imaging on his left knee tomorrow, per <a href=”https://twitter.com/malika_andrews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@malika_andrews</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Y62qYzKIQG”>pic.twitter.com/Y62qYzKIQG</a></p>— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) <a href=”https://twitter.com/BleacherReport/status/1410076040525881346?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 30, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
In the playoffs thus far, Giannis Antetokounmko has been registering 28.2 points per game, 12.7 rebounds per game and 5.2 assists per game.
The Atlanta Hawks find themselves in a somewhat difficult position themselves. It has been rumored that both Trey Young and Clint Capela are listed questionable for Game 5.
If Giannis, Young and Capela are ruled out of Game 5, a crucial series game will come down to the secondary stars and role players of both squads. Whichever bench can step up will take the lead in the Eastern Conference Finals and would be most likely to move on to the Finals.
Image credit – brobible.com
How are the Milwaukee Bucks preparing for a critical postseason game without Giannis?
When asked about the Bucks game plan without their best player on the floor, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer emphasized ball movement as the key component.
“We talk about ball movement and people movement and playing free, playing organically,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Wednesday. “… We’ve got a lot of talent, so I think just let the guys play. Put them in a comfort level and put them in a comfortable spot and let them go play basketball, not over-complicated.
One of the players that will have to step up alongside Khris Middleton is Pat Connaugton. Connaugton’s ability to create his own shot off the dribble, defend multiple positions and drain mid and long range shots will be pivotal to making up some of the stats lost with Giannis off the floor.
“It’s not something where you … need to consciously think, ‘I need to do more,'” Connaughton said after Thursday’s shootaround. “It’s just you’re ready for opportunities as they arise. Throughout the season, one of the, I would say, beautiful things about our team is you’re called to do different things on different nights.”