2023 Playoffs: East First Round | Bucks (1) vs. Heat (8)

Giannis Antetokounmpo misses Game 3 with lower back injury

The 2-time Kia NBA MVP misses his 2nd consecutive playoff game with a lower back contusion.

Giannis Antetokounmpo applauds from the bench during Saturday’s Game 3 between Milwaukee and Miami.

MIAMI (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks was ruled out of Game 3 of his team’s Eastern Conference first-round series against the Miami Heat on Saturday night because of his ongoing back issue.

It’s the second full game that Antetokounmpo has missed in the series. He played only 11 minutes of Game 1, was ruled out for the remainder of that game after being diagnosed with a back contusion and then did not play Wednesday in Milwaukee’s series-tying Game 2 victory.

The eighth-seeded Heat rolled past the top-seeded Bucks 121-99 on for a 2-1 series lead.

Before Game 3, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo is making progress.

“We’ll continue to monitor him, through the day tomorrow, through the day the next day,” Budenholzer said. “He’s not in a place where he can go, so we’ll just continue to monitor and work with him and hope for the best.”

Milwaukee is 12-9 this season when Antetokounmpo doesn’t play in a game.

Antetokounmpo is a two-time MVP and one of three finalists — joining Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid — for the league’s top individual trophy this season. He averaged 31.1 points this season, fifth-best in the NBA, along with 11.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists.