Giannis Antetokounmpo 'Day to Day' with Injury Ahead of Finals, Per Budenholzer

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 4, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) waits for an opening in Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is considered day to day heading into the NBA Finals, coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters.

Budenholzer added that Antetokounmpo was "dying to be out there" as he missed Games 5 and 6 in the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Atlanta Hawks.

The 26-year-old Antetokounmpo won MVP in 2019 and 2020, and although he wasn't able to three-peat in 2021, he averaged 28.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1.2 steals and 1.1 three-pointers made per game while shooting 56.9 percent from the field.

With Giannis leading the way, the Bucks were the top seed in the Eastern Conference in both 2019 and 2020. They took a slight step back this season by earning the No. 3 seed, but they enjoyed more playoff success.

Milwaukee swept the defending Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the first round and outlasted the injury-ravaged Brooklyn Nets in the second round to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Bucks were heavily favored to beat the Hawks and reach the NBA Finals, and even after Giannis got hurt in Game 4, they had enough firepower with Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis.

Prior to hyperextending his left knee, Antetokounmpo was averaging 28.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per contest in the playoffs. If he misses any games in the Finals versus the Phoenix Suns—Game 1 is Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET—look for the aforementioned players and P.J. Tucker and Pat Connaughton to continue playing extended minutes.