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Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo will play, Khris Middleton will sit vs. Nets

Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton

After their wholesale injury report wiped their starting lineup aside like a plague Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks will be more judicious about their resting/injury patterns for Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

Giannis Antetokounmpo will return to action, while Khris Middleton will remain sidelined due to left groin soreness.

The Bucks sat three of their five starters for Sunday’s overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks, a contest they lost only on a last-second buzzer-beater by Hawks rookie Trae Young. Monday’s contest with Brooklyn holds playoff implications, but more so for the Nets, who enter the night in possession of the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Milwaukee has been careful as it pertains to protecting Giannis Antetokounmpo throughout the season, having selectively allowed him to sit while nursing minor injuries. Despite having been sidelined for four games since the All-Star break, the Greek Freak remains atop the NBA MVP conversation, averaging 27.4 points, 12.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game while shooting 58.0 percent from the floor overall.

Sterling Brown dropped a career-high 27 points Sunday with the Bucks’ core on the bench Sunday. He has entered the starting five recently in place of the injured Malcolm Brogdon and figures to see more shot opportunities Monday, both with the pace that Brooklyn likes to play at, along with the absence of Khris Middleton.

The Bucks, who are nearing the capture of the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, have just four regular-season games remaining after Monday, with Middleton’s next chance to return coming Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers.