Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo Doubtful For Game 1 vs. Pacers

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo remains sidelined with a calf injury and his status for Game 1 of the playoff series vs. the Indiana Pacers is up in the air, per NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic.Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA

Antetokounmpo suffered the injury while jogging up the court in a win over the Boston Celtics last week.

Obviously, without Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ odds of beating the up-and-coming (and oh-so-feisty) Pacers decrease considerably. They’ve already had their share of edginess between them this season.

‘Antetokounmpo is rehabbing daily but there’s some real doubt for his status to begin series vs. Pacers on Sunday, sources say,” Charania wrote. “Although Giannis has rare recovery ability, he’s very much up in the air for Game 1.”

As relayed by Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Antetokounmpo, guard Damian Lillard, and forward Khris Middleton have played just eight games together since Doc Rivers took over as coach in late January.

Milwaukee (49-33) sputtered late and finished third in the Eastern Conference one year after finishing with the best record in the NBA.

“I don’t know. I think focus. I don’t know what it is,” coach Doc Rivers told NBA reporters following a loss to the Washington Wizards earlier this month. “You know, it’s funny, I’ve actually been sitting back and watching everything. Not just our players, but our travel crew, everything and I’ve made a lot of notes. I will say that. I won’t share that.

“But we don’t bring the necessary professionalism, seriousness on the road. And that’s something that we can fix. And that’s something we’re going to have to fix.”

Antetokounmpo, 29, appeared in 73 games this season and compiled averages of 30.4 points, 11.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists while shooting 61.1% from the field, 27.4% from beyond the arc and 65.7% from the free-throw line. 

During an interview with NBA reporter Sam Amick of The Athletic, Antetokounmpo said he didn’t care about winning his third MVP Award. The future Hall of Famer won back-to-back MVPs in 2019 and 2020. 

“I’m never going to make myself look like I’m crying for a trophy,” Antetokounmpo said. “One thing I’m never going to do is, I’m never going to fall into the bubble, (and) I believe this is a bubble. This is a matrix.

“I ask you, and you. I ask everybody, or I ask my wife, ‘Babe, am I the MVP of this league?’ She’ll say, ‘Babe, you’re the MVP of my heart. I don’t care.’ If I ask my brothers, they’ll say, ‘We’re the MVP of life. We don’t care.’ I will never, never, in my life, fall into the bubble and say, ‘Yeah, I’m the MVP of the league’ and whine and cry or say, ‘Give it to me. I deserve it more.’ That’s not what I do, man. That’s not what I do. I don’t do that. But that, sometimes — my agent says this, but I don’t give a f— what my agent says — he says that s— hurts me too because they overlook me. Yeah, they overlook me. OK (shrugs). What can I do? What can I do? We can go home, huh?”

Ashish Mathur contributed to this report.

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