Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard Doubtful For Game 5 vs. Pacers

Milwaukee Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard are unlikely to play in Tuesday’s Game 5 at home against the Indiana Pacers, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Bucks, NBA
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The Pacers lead the series, 3-1, and can close it out with a win in Milwaukee.

“There is doubt that Bucks All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf strain) and Damian Lillard (Achilles tendon strain) will be able to play in potential elimination Game 5 vs. Pacers on Tuesday down 3-1, sources say,” Charania wrote. “Both have tricky strains that complicate returns and create risk.”

Neither played in Game 4 at Indiana, a 126-113 Bucks loss. And without Antetokounmpo and Lillard, Milwaukee is on borrowed time after finishing with the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.

“We knew coming into the game we were going to have to trap more and do things we don’t traditionally do,” Bucks coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the Game 4 loss. “I thought we hung in there, I really did.”

Now, the Bucks will have to do more than just hang in there to save their season. And it appears they’ll have to do it without their two All-Stars.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith recently suggested that if the Bucks should lose, Lillard could again seek a new home.

“If Milwaukee loses, I think you need to consider moving Dame up outta there,” Smith said, via Clutch Points. “I’m not talking about his game. He’s not happy there.” 

Lillard did indeed seek a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers specifically to the Miami Heat at the end of last season — but ended up going to the Bucks instead. He said at the time he was happy he was sent to Milwaukee.

And while Smith has his opinions, Lillard recently indicated that he and Antetokounmpo have found some chemistry together.

“I think it’s getting much better,” Lillard said, via The Athletic. “To start the season, I think a lot of people wanted it to just click and happen right away. But I think anytime you put two guys together who’ve always been the decision maker, always had the ball in your hands for years and years and years, it’s going to take time for us to learn how to play with each other and learn how to play off of one another.

“And I think we’re just, first of all, having a lot more dialogue about what I need from him and he’s telling me what he needs for me. And I think our understanding is getting much better. And because of that, I’m able to get to certain spots and I’m using him against the defense and vice versa. When we get the kind of attention that we’ve been getting, where it’s a guy guarding me and his guy is being aggressive and then the help is pulling over to guard whichever one of us ends up with the ball, then the next guy is getting a clean shot.”

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