Giannis in starting lineup for Game 1 of NBA Finals

This season’s NBA championship is nearing its’ end with only NBA finals left.

This year’s NBA final between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns who won the Eastern Conference Finals and the Western Conference Finals respectively kicked off on Tuesday night.

It’s an important match for the Bucks as they play their first NBA Finals for the first time in nearly half a century.

One thing that they needed was for their star player, former two-time MVP Giannis Antetokoumpo to be on the court.

Early on the match day, the Bucks were concerned about his availability as he was listed doubtful.

However, that concerned fadeaway with the Bucks announcing him on the starting lineup of Game 1.

This is an important game for Giannis as it’s the first time he appears for the NBA finals.

With him in the lineup, the Bucks and their fans can breathe sighs of relief.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s injury.

Antetokounmpo suffered a hyperextended left knee on an awkward and hard landing while blocking the Atlanta Hawks’ Clint Capela in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals a week ago.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo injures knee in loss to Hawks - Los  Angeles Times
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo injures knee in a loss to Hawks (source: latimes.com )

The injury caused him to leave the remainder of Game 4 and eventually ruled him out in Game 5 and Game 6.

After Giannis left the court on Game 4, the Hawks dominated the Bucks and ultimately defeated them, tying the series 2-2.

This doubted the Bucks’ win without Giannis however the Bucks pulled through the unfortunate Giannis’s injury.

And won two games back-to-back giving the Bucks the Conference Finals’ Championship.

All thanks to Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and Jrue Holiday’s incredible and dominant performance.

They all stepped up just at the right time, dominating over the Hawks.

And ultimately lead the Bucks to the win.

Despite the win, not having Giannis by their side was still a concern for the Bucks.

The Bucks on Giannis’s absence.

“When Giannis is out there, a lot of times we can just give him the ball and let him go to work and let him orchestrate a lot of things out there,” Khris Middleton said. “Without him, we have to do it by committee.”

Without Antetokounmpo, Holiday believed he needed to fill some of the offensive voids.

And make up for some of the gaps in attacking the basket.

“[I’m trying to] just continue to be aggressive,” Holiday said. “No letdowns, because the way Giannis [plays], there are no letdowns. He’s continuously going to the basket, being aggressive on both ends of the floor. He does so much for this team that I just felt like losing that would be really hard for us.”

Middleton suggested Giannis not rush back before he is ready.

“[I told him] don’t rush back in and put yourself at a greater risk for a greater injury,” Middleton said. “He’s a guy, he puts so much time and effort into his body to be the best version of himself also.”

Giannis back in the game.

The Bucks finally breathe a sigh of relief after Giannis’s return for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

The Bucks announced him on the starting lineup before Game 1.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said earlier Monday that Antetokounmpo was able to do some on-court work separately from the team’s afternoon practice.

When asked what specific exercises and movements Antetokounmpo was able to do without pain, Budenholzer declined to answer.

“He’s had a good day,” Budenholzer said. “He’s making good progress.

The NBA then announced, he was exempt from speaking to reporters on Monday.

But on Tuesday, his status changed to a game-time decision as he participated in pregame warmups.

“I think the word we’ve used is he’s making progress,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said about 90 minutes before the game. “He did some work on the court.

We’ll take a second and listen to him in the back, listen to the medical (team), listen to the sports performance group.”

Eventually, the Bucks announced him available for the game and included him in the starting lineup.

The Bucks coach Budenholzer was even certain of Giannis’s contribution even if he couldn’t score as much as usual.

“The way he scores, and his skills are very unique,” Budenholzer said.

“And so yeah, a lot of confidence that he’s going to be able to impact winning in a really positive way.”

“Whenever it is that he plays,” Budenholzer added.

With him back on the court, it’ll be interesting to see the course of the 7-game series of the NBA finals.

Can the Bucks beat the Suns to clinch their NBA Finals or the Suns dominate the Bucks?

 

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