Will Giannis Antetokounmpo Play Tonight? The Bucks’ Star Power Forward is Listed as Doubtful for Wednesday’s Game against the Heat
Giannis Antetokounmpo drove to the hoop against Kevin Love in Game 1 against the Miami Heat and hit the court hard when he injured his back. Giannis was ruled out of the rest of the game after being diagnosed with a back contusion. Giannis is expected to return some point soon in this series, but when the Milwaukee Bucks sent in their initial injury report for this game, Giannis was officially been listed as Doubtful. How can the Bucks respond to potentially playing without one of the best NBA players, even if it’s just for a game?
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Miami Heat
Giannis got injured in Game 1 very early against the Heat. He left the game with only 6 points and he grabbed 3 rebounds before he left the game. Giannis has been very good against the Heat this season, but not his usual dominant self. He averaged 19.5 points, 7.5 assists, and 9.5 rebounds per game in two games against the Heat this year. He also shot 27.5% from three-point range and 55% from the field overall in those games, according to his Lineups player profile.
Most of time against the Heat Giannis would see a combination of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo switched onto him on defense. Butler and Adebayo are the two best players Miami has and they would and will be tasked with taking turns on Giannis when he eventually comes back. Butler averages 23 points, 5 assists, and 6 rebounds per game, while also averaging 2 steals per game, while Adebayo averages 20 points, 3 assists, and 9 rebounds per game, according to Basketball Reference. Adebayo also averages around 1 block and 1 steal per game. Butler is a good matchup for Giannis on the perimeter and Adebayo is the best starter Miami has to matchup with Giannis down low.
Milwaukee Bucks Power Forward Options vs Miami Heat
|Depth Chart Order||Player||Avg. MPG|
The Bucks have two distinct options they can use without Giannis at the power forward spot depending on how small they want to go at any given time. Giannis is the most unique player in the NBA and you can’t replicate what he does at all, but the Bucks will try and hold it down without him for a game with a combination of both Jae Crowder and Bobby Portis.
Jae Crowder is the obvious choice to replace Giannis at the starting spot because it would allow the Bucks to spread the ball out more because he’s a decent shooter from three-point range and can defend very well, especially on the perimeter. Crowder averages 7 points, 1.5 assists, and 4 rebounds per game this season. He also averages 44% from three-point range and 48% from the field overall in the small sample size we’ve seen from him this year. He also scored 9 points and made all three of his three-pointers in the one game he played against Miami this year. He would also provide some toughness and experience that Milwaukee can lean on.
Bobby Portis is the next option and he’s bigger than Crowder and can make life more difficult for the Heat down low next to Brook Lopez at center. Portis averages 14 points, 1.5 assists, and 10 rebounds per game this season. He also averages 37% from three-point range and 50% from the field overall. Also, in his three games against Miami this year he averages 15 points, 1 assist, and 8 rebounds. He also averages 25% from three-point range and 48.5% from the field overall in those three games.
Giannis is irreplaceable, but these two options are quality enough where the Bucks have options they can use and try as a holdover until Giannis comes back probably in Game 3.
Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks Odds
The Milwaukee Bucks are 6.5-point home favorites against the Miami Heat Game 2 and are at -260 on the money line. Oddsmakers are still liking the Bucks to bounce back regardless of the Giannis news, but they like the Bucks in a more close game than originally thought due to what the point spread is.
The Milwaukee Bucks are still the favorites to win this series at -225, while the the Miami Heat are listed at +185 on the series. The depth of Milwaukee is something to still like for a game, maybe two still, as compared to the Miami Heat who might be without Tyler Herro the entire series thanks to his injury. The Bucks are set up to win this series still, but Giannis coming back would be a huge help in ending the series sooner.