Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was unsure whether Giannis Antetokounmpo would be fit for Game 5 of the team’s NBA playoff series against the Heat after the Milwaukee star reinjured his right ankle in Game 4 on Sunday.
The reigning MVP had posted 19 points in 11 minutes before having to leave the game. Khris Middleton inspired the Bucks with 36 points as they stayed alive in the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 118-115 overtime victory.
There is no guarantee Antetokounmpo will be back for Game 5 on Tuesday. The Heat lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 at Walt Disney World Resort.
“As far as for Game 5, they’re evaluating him now,” Budenholzer told a news conference. “He’ll get treatment through the night and we’ll just see how he does over the next 24-48 hours and, no, there was no consideration about him coming back [Sunday].”
While it was Middleton who ended up keeping the top-seeded Bucks alive, Antetokounmpo was in fine form before his injury.
Budenholzer praised Antetokounmpo and said the injury was a scary moment for the Bucks.
“You feel for Giannis. I hope it’s not lost what he did in those first 10 or 12 minutes on an ankle that is not fully 100 percent,” he said.
“He was phenomenal to start the game and gave us a huge boost. I think they threw a big punch early and Giannis was able to keep us afloat and when he went down, all our hearts just stopped for a second.”
Heat star Jimmy Butler, who finished with 17 points, felt Miami fell away after Antetokounmpo’s injury.
“We relaxed a little bit. We stopped playing basketball the right way. We stopped guarding. We stopped living by our defensive principles,” he said. “We weren’t getting 50-50 balls, we were getting outrebounded, it was just all bad.”