NBA

NBA playoffs 2021: Budenholzer and Bucks awaiting to discover severity of Giannis injury

By Sports Desk June 29, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said the franchise are awaiting to discover the severity of Giannis Antetokounmpo's injury after the two-time NBA MVP hyperextended his knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Bucks' 110-88 loss to the Atlanta Hawks – who levelled the series at 2-2 despite the absence of Trae Young – was compounded by a knee injury to superstar Antetokounmpo on Tuesday.

Antetokounmpo (14 points) landed awkwardly on his left leg with just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter in Atlanta, where he jumped up to contest an alley-oop from John Collins to Clint Capela, but his knee buckled before hobbling to the locker room.

The third-seeded Bucks – eyeing their first championship since 1971 – now face an anxious wait regarding the fitness of their best player heading into Thursday's Game 5 in Milwaukee.

"We'll see how he is tomorrow," Budenholzer said. "We'll take everything as it comes. We'll evaluate it. We've got a heck of a team, a heck of a roster."

"We'll take everything as it comes," Budenholzer continued. "We have a heck of a team, a heck of a roster. The guys will be ready to compete and play. That's what it's about. We got a Game 5."

Antetokounmpo has been averaging a career-high 29.2 points in the playoffs, along with 13.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

The 'Greek Freak' had averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds and a career best-tying 5.9 assists per game in the regular season.

Budenholzer added: "Obviously, Giannis is a big part of our soul, our fibre. I'm sure there is the human element, the concern, the care for him is real."

"It's not good," Bucks veteran P.J. Tucker told reporters. "But this is the Eastern Conference Finals. There is no excuse. It doesn't matter whoever is playing, not playing.

"They've got guys hurt. Everybody is hurt. Everybody is banged up. Everybody is injured. You've got to fight through it.

"It's not good losing anybody on your team. You lose your best player, it stinks."

Milwaukee had shot 50 per cent or better from the field in each of their last two games after not reaching that mark in any of their first 12 playoff games this year. The Bucks had won nine straight playoff games going back to 2018 when making at least half of their shots.

However, the Bucks were just 39.3 per cent from the field as Jrue Holiday (19 points) and Khris Middleton (16 points) were the only other players aside from Antetokounmpo to finish in double-digits.

Holiday's nine assists took his tally to 121 this postseason – the third most in franchise history behind Oscar Robertson (149 in 1974 and 124 in 1971) after eclipsing Sam Cassell (120 in 2001).

"They had a lot of guys play well tonight, for really the whole game," Budenholzer said. "Credit to Atlanta. They played well from the start. They played well coming off the [Trae Young] injury.

"We've got to be better on both ends. Our group will gather. The character of our group will come through. We are going home. It's 2-2. We are going back to Milwaukee."

Related items

  • Thompson making 'good progress' in injury recovery, Wiseman to miss pre-season Thompson making 'good progress' in injury recovery, Wiseman to miss pre-season

    Klay Thompson is making "good progress" to return in the new NBA season while James Wiseman will miss pre-season according to the Golden State Warriors.

    The franchise provided an injury update on the pair on Monday, ahead of the new season due to commence on October 19.

    Five-time NBA All-Star Thompson has missed the past two seasons due to a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and a torn right Achilles.

    Wiseman, who went pick two in last year's NBA Draft, underwent surgery on a meniscus tear in April.

    "Thompson… has made good progress during his rehabilitation over the course of the summer and is on pace to return for the 2021-22 season," the Warriors update said.

    "The exact time for his return this season will be based on his continued progress.

    "Thompson, who underwent surgery on his right Achilles on November 25, 2020, is expected to participate in various controlled drills during training camp. His return to full practices will be determined at a later date."

    The Warriors did not put a return date on Wiseman either, but confirmed he would begin full jumping six months after surgery, being October 15, only four days before the new season starts.

    Wiseman will join the team in their training camp, but the timeframe means he has been effectively ruled out of playing in pre-season.

    "The exact time for his return this season will be based on his continued progress," the update said. "He was expected—and is still expected—to begin full jumping six (6) months from the date of surgery, which would be October 15.

    "Wiseman is expected to participate in individual shooting and other individual on-court activities during training camp. His return to full practices will be determined at a later date (after October 15)."

    The Warriors are scheduled to start the 2021-22 NBA season against the Los Angeles Lakers on October 19.

    Golden State last season lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference play-in tournament, failing to reach the playoffs for the second straight campaign in Thompson's absence.

    The Warriors stormed back into playoffs contention with a strong second half in 2020-21, finishing 39-33, after ending the 2019-20 season last with a 15-50 record.

  • Koeman explains tactics after Granada draw: This is not the Barca of eight years ago! Koeman explains tactics after Granada draw: This is not the Barca of eight years ago!

    Ronald Koeman explained Granada's early goal and the limited resources at his disposal meant Barcelona could not play 'tiki-taka' as they battled to a draw on Monday. 

    In their first match since going down 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Barca narrowly avoided suffering another home defeat. 

    Domingos Duarte headed a second-minute opener for Granada, chasing their second straight Camp Nou win after 24 straight losses, and the Blaugrana had to wait until the final seconds of normal time to respond. 

    Ronald Araujo got the leveller with a header of his own, coming from one of 54 Barca crosses. 

    Since the 2005-06 season, the Catalan side have only once registered more crosses in a match, sending in 55 in a goalless draw against Malaga in November 2016. 

    Sergino Dest and Memphis Depay each delivered 16 crosses, a tally topped only by Dani Alves (on five occasions) and Neymar (in the Malaga game) among Barca players in that period. 

    In the same time span, no other Barca player can match Araujo's five headed attempts in a league game. 

    It was a far cry from the passing patterns Pep Guardiola's team used to produce, but under-fire coach Koeman, who refused to discuss his future after the match, felt Barca had little other option in pursuit of an equaliser. 

    "Our bad start made it very difficult for us," Koeman said. "It was a play with two or three previous actions that we have not played well, then the cross and the goal have arrived. 

    "You face a team that is going to waste time from minute one, that is going to defend more and without spaces. It is all more difficult. 

    "The space was on the wings, not inside. Our basic system is 4-3-3 and that's how we played in the first half, then with [Philippe] Coutinho behind and Memphis on the left. 

    "But the Barca of today is not the Barca of eight years ago. It's not the game we want, but we lack players for one-on-one situations. Coutinho and [Yusuf] Demir go more inside. 

    "With Ansu [Fati] and [Ousmane] Dembele we would have [these players], but they are not here and we have to look for other ways to attack, such as playing more on the outside and crossing. 

    "If you see the team sheet, what else should be done? Play 'tiki-taka' if there is no space? 

    "We didn't want to play like this at the start of the game, but it wasn't easy to play short and we don't have players with speed on the wing. 

    "There was no room on the inside, but there was room on the outside for Dest and Memphis to cross on the left and [Oscar] Mingueza [nine crosses off the bench] on the right. 

    "In the end, we were able to draw at a time when we were good at squeezing the opponent. But we have lost two points." 

    Despite outlining their deficiencies, Koeman praised his players, adding: "We must highlight the attitude. 

    "People leave unhappy because we don't win, but not because of the attitude. I want to highlight the energy we put into winning a point. We have had dedication and the support of our people, who have encouraged us and to whom I thank. 

    "We deserved the draw and with a bit of luck we were able to win. And that also has to be seen. You have to highlight the ambition to want to win." 

  • Barcelona 1-1 Granada: Araujo rescues blundering Blaugrana Barcelona 1-1 Granada: Araujo rescues blundering Blaugrana

    Ronald Araujo's 90th-minute header rescued Barcelona from a second straight home defeat in Monday's 1-1 draw with Granada. 

    Barca were in need of a response after going down 3-0 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League but instead ended up fortunate not to lose again. 

    Granada's most recent LaLiga victory had been at Camp Nou in April – ending a run of 24 straight defeats in this fixture – and they threatened another upset when Domingos Duarte scored early. 

    Indeed, there were only 49 seconds of normal time remaining when Araujo saved the day in front of an angry crowd, keeping Barca unbeaten in the league but scarcely easing the tension. 

    Less than two minutes were played when Sergio Escudero crossed beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the far post and Duarte's downward header found the net. 

    Ter Stegen was beaten again by a Jorge Molina volley that just cleared the crossbar, before Barca belatedly applied some pressure at the other end. 

    Sergi Roberto hit the angle of post and crossbar at the second attempt following a corner, while only a sublime Luis Maximiano save denied Araujo after a firm header. 

    The hosts were slow out of the traps again after the restart, though, and it appeared as though a remarkable Luuk de Jong miss 11 minutes from time would prove costly.

    Bizarrely pitched as "more dangerous than Neymar" from crosses by Ronald Koeman, the on-loan striker nodded over from point-blank range. However, Araujo soon thundered in his own header from a similar position. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.