Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo looked healthy in his return from a hyperextended left knee, but his 20 points and 17 rebounds weren’t enough in his Finals debut, 118-115 road loss to the Suns in Game 1.
Antetokounmpo missed the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals, both Bucks wins over the Hawks to close that series. He was initially listed as doubtful vs. the Suns, then upgraded to questionable, then returned to his role in the lineup after an on-court workout before tipoff.
“I’m just happy that I’m out there and I’m able to help my team in any way possible and participate in my first NBA Finals,” Antetokounmpo said.
As of now, Antetekounmpo is expected to play in Game 2 on Thursday, also in Phoenix.
More from Milwaukee
- The Bucks have now trailed each of the previous postseason after one game. So they’re used to this. “We know it’s not going to be easy. We know it’s going to be tough,” forward Khris Middleton said. “There’s times where we’re going to be down in this series. But this series isn’t over. We’re down. We’ve still got to keep competing and just playing.”
- Chris Paul and the Suns were able to pick-and-roll the Bucks into submission, and coach Mike Budenholzer said that will need to be cleaned up for Game 2. “Their pick-and-roll game is tough to guard,” Budenholzer said. “I think we’ve just got to keep getting better. We’ll look at the film. We’ll see how we can maybe take away some of the rhythm.”
- Budenholzer is from Holbrook, Ariz., about three hours from Phoenix and grew up a fa of the Suns. His parents and other family members attended Game 1.
- Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes an in-depth look at the coin flip between the Bucks and Suns prior to the 1969 NBA Draft, in which the Bucks won the No. 1 overall pick. With it, they selected Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Quality read.