ORLANDO (Florida) • Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo limped out of the Bucks’ 118-115 overtime victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday, and it is not clear if he will be able to play when they continue their battle to stay alive in the National Basketball Association (NBA) play-offs.
The reigning NBA Most Valuable Player had rolled his right ankle in the Bucks’ Game 3 loss to the Heat, which left the Eastern Conference top seeds in an 0-3 hole in the best-of-seven series and facing elimination on Sunday.
Antetokounmpo, who played on and insisted the ankle did not bother him on Friday, twisted it again in the second quarter on a drive to the rim against Miami’s Andre Iguodala.
He was fouled and went down hard, but stayed in the game and shot two free throws, making one, before limping to the locker room.
He left the arena in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida, wearing a protective boot on the affected leg. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he did not yet know if his star forward would be available for Game 5 today.
“As far as for Game 5, they’re evaluating him now,” he said. “He’ll get treatment through the night, and we’ll just see how he does over the next 24 to 48 hours.”
Budenholzer said less than two hours before Sunday’s game that Antetokounmpo was still testing the ankle. But the Greek star looked unhindered early on, scoring 19 points in 11 minutes before he was hurt again.
Khris Middleton scored a game-high 36 points and hit a pair of free throws with 2.2 seconds left in overtime as the Bucks staved off elimination.
The forward said one thought went through his mind late in the game. “Just keep fighting,” he said. “I saw what my teammates did. We all fought.”
In the West, LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 62 points and 21 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers needed to hold off the fourth-seeded Rockets’ second-half rally to win 117-109 to even their semi-finals series 1-1.
James narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE