Milwaukee Bucks Stave Off Elimination Despite Losing Giannis Antetokounmpo to Ankle Injury

Khris Middleton stepped up in a big way to lead Milwaukee to a game four win

Khris Middleton drives against Goran Dragic
Khris Middleton drives past Goran Dragic in the third quarter of game four.
Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks were in a tough spot in the first half of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Facing a 3-0 series deficit against the aggressive Miami Heat, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo suffered a right ankle sprain in the second quarter that caused him to miss the rest of the game. Antetokounmpo was active early on, scoring 18 points in just 11 minutes before his injury.

All-Star Khris Middleton stepped up in Antetokounmpo’s absence, though, recording 38 points (including a franchise playoff record 21 in the third quarter), eight rebounds and eight assists as Milwaukee managed to win in overtime 118-115. Now, the major question is whether Antetokounmpo will be able to return on Tuesday night for game five.

The Bucks still face what seem to be insurmountable odds to win their second-round series. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 series deficit. The Heat have been a tough matchup for the Bucks, with center Bam Adebayo leading the way. He continued his great play in the game four loss, nearly posting a triple double with 26 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

If Antetokounmpo is unavailable on Tuesday night, the pressure on Middleton and the rest of Milwaukee’s supporting cast will surely rise.

In Sunday’s second game, the Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from a loss on Friday to even their series with the Houston Rockets 1-1. The Lakers made some strategic moves in game two, mixing in a lot of zone defense and double-teaming Rockets star James Harden on a regular basis.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 62 points, while bench players Markieff Morris (16 points) and Rajon Rondo (10 points, nine assists and five steals) also came up big with surprise performances.

On Houston’s end, the Rockets were hot from three at times, nailing 22-of-53 three-pointers, though Rockets guard Russell Westbrook struggled mightily. Consumed by foul trouble, Westbrook shot just 4-for-15 and had seven turnovers.

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