Milwaukee’s head coach Mike Budenholzer reported that they are optimistic about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s availability for Game 2. However, the Bucks listed their two-time MVP as doubtful after a nasty fall on his back in the first quarter of Game 1 on Sunday. A lower back contusion left him out of practice yesterday and his playing chances for tonight are not looking great. There’s always a chance he toughens it out and plays, but the Bucks certainly do not want to risk any further injury.
The Bucks’ first injury report submitted last night had Giannis officially listed as doubtful to play tonight and that status might not change. Budenholzer said the decision will ultimately be determined before tip-off tonight. Antetokounpo will actively be getting treatment before the game to try and be ready to go for Game 2.
NBA betting sites have the Milwaukee Bucks at (-270) to win Game 2 tonight at home after dropping Game 1 on Sunday.
The Bucks have submitted their first injury report for tomorrow’s Game 2 against the Heat.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (lower back contusion)
Wesley Matthews (right calf strain)
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) April 18, 2023
Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful to play tonight vs the Heat
There is still time for Giannis to rest and receive treatment for most of the day today and then see how he feels later on closer to tip-off. Milwaukee went 11-8 in the games that Antetokounmpo missed throughout the regular season. The Bucks fell behind early in Game 1 and were never able to recover from losing Giannis early on.
Mike Budenholzer also told the media that imaging done on Giannis’ back came back clean. That was a relief for his teammates, coaching staff, and fans all over the world. If Antetokounmpo does not play tonight, expect to see Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Bobby Portis. He made 22 starts for the Bucks this season and averaged (17.4) points and (10.8) rebounds in those contests. Portis also averaged the second-most rebounds per game at (9.6) this season, only behind Antetokounmpo.
Even without Giannis tonight, the Bucks can pull off a win and hopefully have him ready for Game 3 in Miami. The Bucks do not want to risk further injury for Giannis and won’t play him tonight if he’s not 100 percent. It’s still the first round and the Bucks have the star power to still compete with the Heat.