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Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer explains the controversial late-game move of pulling out Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks, Mike Budenholzer

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer has shed some light on the controversial late-game benching of NBA MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday.

Budenholzer said Antetokounmpo “twisted his ankle in the backcourt” late in the fourth quarter, per national NBA writer Ben Golliver of the Washington Post.

The Raptors beat the Bucks in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead, 105-99. Toronto has come back from an early 0-2 series deficit. The Raptors have now beaten Milwaukee three straight times. They’re also on the brink of their first NBA Finals appearance.

Toronto battled back from an early 14-point deficit on Thursday. Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, who made the All-NBA second team, led all scorers with 35 points. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 24 points.

Antetokounmpo made the All-NBA first team on Thursday. He’s also one of three MVP candidates. The other two are the Houston Rockets’ James Harden and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George.

This isn’t the first time Antetokounmpo’s ankle sprain has given him fits this season. He sprained his right ankle during Milwaukee’s 128-118 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on March 29.

The injury forced Antetokounmpo to sit out the Bucks’ next game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Milwaukee fans can only hope The Greek Freak’s most recent right ankle injury won’t hobble him for Game 6 on Saturday. It’s the Bucks’ last chance to salvage a crack at a second NBA title in franchise history.