NBA: Bucks hope Giannis Antetokounmpo is available for Game 2 vs Heat
Different X-rays could lead to different availabilities when the Miami Heat try to go up 2-0 on the road in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series against the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
A painful Game 1 on Sunday saw both Heat star guard Tyler Herro and Bucks’ MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo leave Miami’s 130-117 victory with injuries.
Herro has since been diagnosed with a broken right hand. He is expected to undergo season-ending surgery later this week.
“The biggest thing is he had a smile on his face and he wasn’t discouraged about what happened to him,” Heat center Bam Adebayo said of Herro’s reaction to the X-rays. “I feel like that’s the biggest thing you can bring to the team after a ‘W.'”
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra hasn’t announced who will start in place of his second-leading scorer. Caleb Martin, who started 49 of Miami’s first 59 games during the regular season, and Duncan Robinson, who started the second half of Game 1 in Herro’s place, are considered the leading candidates.
Herro had 12 points in 19 minutes Sunday, helping the Heat jump to a 68-55 lead by halftime.
The Bucks had lost Antetokounmpo well before that. He suffered a lower back/tailbone injury late in the first quarter and missed the rest of the game. He is listed as doubtful for Game 2.
X-rays were negative, and Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer’s initial reaction was optimism about his superstar possibly playing in the rematch.
“I would say he’s still sore, but I think progress and he’s getting some treatment and I think we’ll just continue to monitor him for the next 24 (hours), next day or two,” Budenholzer said Monday. “And probably fortunate that two days between games. So I think still mostly positive, mostly optimistic, but we’ll see how he feels.”
Antetokounmpo had six points and three rebounds in a little less than 11 minutes of action in a game where the Bucks were outshot 59.5 percent to 49.5 percent.
The big difference in shooting percentages was a result of Miami going 15-for-25 on 3-pointers, while the Bucks were just 11-for-45. Gabe Vincent (4-for-5) and Kevin Love (4-for-7) were the Heat’s top guns from deep.
The 60-percent accuracy on threes was a season-best for the Heat and equaled their second-best ever in a playoff game. They shot 8-for-11 (72.7 percent) in an overtime win at Toronto in 2016.
Meanwhile, it also was a season-high allowed by the Bucks this year and the highest since the Phoenix Suns scorched Milwaukee for 13-for-19 on threes (68.4 percent) in Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
Jimmy Butler finished with 35 points and Adebayo chipped in with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the win, which was the Heat’s third in five meetings with the Bucks this season, but their first in Milwaukee.
Khris Middleton had 33 points and Jrue Holiday a 16-point, 16-assist double-double in a losing cause for the Bucks, who haven’t fallen behind 2-0 in a playoff series since the 2021 Finals against the Suns, a best-of-seven Milwaukee won by sweeping the final four games.
Miami guard Kyle Lowry (left knee) is listed as questionable.