2021 Playoffs: East Final | Bucks (3) vs. Hawks (5)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) misses Game 5 vs. Hawks
The two-time Kia MVP is suffering from a hyperextended left knee and did not play in Milwaukee's Game 5 win vs. Atlanta.
From NBA.com News Services
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo did not play in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday because of his hyperextended left knee, the team announced Thursday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is out (hyperextended left knee) for Game 5 tonight. pic.twitter.com/AukUvfi7SU
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) July 1, 2021
The Bucks announced on Wednesday that Antetokounmpo, a former two-time Kia MVP winner, hyperextended his left knee in the third quarter of a 110-88 Game 4 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night.
Even without Antetokounmpo, though, the Bucks figured out a way to win. Brook Lopez scored a playoff career-high 33 points to lead a balanced attack and the Bucks never trailed in a 123-112 victory over the Hawks on Thursday night that gave them a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Bucks had announced Wednesday that an MRI confirmed that diagnosis and said he’d be listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game.
“We’ll just take it day by day and see how he’s doing,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
The Hawks had their own injury issues heading into Game 5 as well.
Star guard Trae Young missed Game 5 with a bone bruise in his right foot, marking the second consecutive game he missed due to a bone bruise in his right root, which occurred in Game 3 after stepping on the foot of an official.
Hawks center Clint Capela was in the starting lineup after being listed as questionable before the game due to inflammation in his right eye. Capela took an inadvertent elbow to the face from Milwaukee’s Sam Merrill late in Game 4. He had six points and eight rebounds.
During his pregame availability, Budenholzer offered no update on when Antetokounmpo might be able to return. Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo did some work in the weight room and training area but wasn’t with his teammates on the court Thursday morning.
Antetokounmpo was attempting to block a dunk attempt by Capela in Game 4 when he landed awkwardly. He clutched his knee in obvious pain and remained down for several minutes before walking slowly to the locker room.
He briefly went back to the Bucks’ bench and then returned to the locker room shortly afterward.
Antetokounmpo has been averaging 28.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists in the postseason. Milwaukee went 6-5 in the 11 regular-season games Antetokounmpo missed, including a stretch of six straight games in April when he also was dealing with an injured left knee.
“Guys get a chance to step up,” Bucks guard Jrue Holiday said after Game 4. “Guys get a chance to make big plays and on the biggest stage. I feel like us playing without him has given us some rhythm and just knowing what it’s like, making some adjustment that will be made. But at the end of the day, we’d rather play with him.”
This is the second straight year that Antetokounmpo has dealt with an injury during the postseason.
In 2020, the Bucks already trailed Miami 3-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals when Antetokounmpo sprained his ankle in Game 4, knocking him out for the rest of that series. The Bucks won Game 4 in overtime, but a Game 5 loss eliminated them.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.