Bucks' Marc Lasry 'Pretty Sure' Giannis Antetokounmpo Will Play in Series vs. Suns

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 6, 2021

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JULY 03: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on from the sidelines during the first half in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on July 03, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo's status for the NBA Finals is unclear as he recovers from a hyperextended left knee. He has been listed as doubtful for Tuesday's Game 1 vs. the Phoenix Suns.

The team hopes he'll play in the Finals at some point, though.

"I'm pretty sure he'll play in the series," Bucks co-governor Marc Lasry said on CNBC on Tuesday (h/t Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic). "The question is when."

Antetokounmpo, 26, missed Game 5 and Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Atlanta Hawks, both wins for Milwaukee. 

"We'll update it when appropriate," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters regarding the Greek Freak's status for the NBA Finals. "The conversations between he and myself, it's kind of private and we'll see where he is each day."

Beating Chris Paul, Devin Booker and a dangerous Suns team without a two-time MVP like Antetokounmpo would be a tall task. Replacing his 28.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game this postseason is virtually impossible for Milwaukee.

"I mean, Giannis is a one-of-a-kind guy," point guard Jrue Holiday told reporters. "We obviously all see his basketball talent, but as a human being, he's one of a kind. ... In my opinion, one of the biggest things we did the last two games was play for him, have his back and hold the fort while he was out with an injury."

The Suns have stayed mostly healthy through this year's postseason, although Paul missed two games after a positive COVID-19 test. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers (Anthony Davis), Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray) and Los Angeles Clippers (Kawhi Leonard) missed crucial stars for parts or all of their matchups with Phoenix. 

The Suns may now face Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo, at least for part of the series. 

If that's the case, Bobby Portis will remain in the starting lineup. He was excellent in relief duty the past two games, averaging 17.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in the two Bucks wins.

But he's no Antetokounmpo.