Giannis Antetokounmpo had a scary fall in Game 4, hyperextending his knee while contesting Clint Capela. Luckily for him, and the Milwaukee Bucks for that matter, no serious damage was done to his leg. Even so, Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful, and we likely won’t see him participate in Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks.
For that reason, the rest of the Bucks roster must elevate their game to a new level. The Hawks have been a surprise team this postseason and don’t seem to be going away. Game 5 will be a tough matchup for Milwaukee without their star player, but if they hope to advance, they must find a way to win.
With the Hawks struggling with injuries as well, the Bucks could take advantage of the backcourt. Additionally, the loss of Giannis means the presence down low is gone as well. With that said, here are four players on the Bucks roster who must step up with Giannis Antetokounmpo injured.
This might be the obvious choice, but Khris Middleton has to step up in Game 5. He was a bit quiet in the last matchup, totaling just 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Middleton serves as the main scoring option from the perimeter and we’ve seen him step up for this team before. He’ll have to do it again, as the Bucks will be leaning on him throughout Thursday night’s game.
Jrue Holiday had a decent game in their last matchup, recording 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 9 assists. With Trae Young battling injuries of his own, Holiday has a chance to take advantage of the Hawks’ weakened backcourt. He’s a tremendous defender and can help Middleton with scoring, especially at the perimeter. Look for the coaching staff to call his number often in Game 5, as he’s likely the second-best scoring option if Antetokounmpo is ruled out.
He’s not the center he used to be, but Brook Lopez is still solid in the paint. With Antetokounmpo injured, Lopez must step up in the post and help his team out down low. He only had 7 points and 5 rebounds in the last game, so Lopez must become more physical if they hope to win Game 5. Look for the Bucks to possibly get him going early. Atlanta could be trying to put Clint Capela into foul trouble using Lopez as the main enforcer. This would be a brilliant strategy to even up the post-game with Giannis injured.
Bobby Portis was called upon to fill in for Giannis Antetokounmpo after he fell to injury. Portis ended the night with 7 points and 7 rebounds. He’ll need to pick his game up in a big way, as the Bucks will need his help with rebounding. Portis isn’t an elite scorer like Giannis, but his rebounding will keep the Bucks competitive down low. They’ll also need him to step up on defense, as John Collins will look to have a big game with Giannis injured. If Portis can go out there and lock down Collins while securing rebounds, the Bucks will have a chance to win Game 5.