Antetokounmpo returns to Bucks lineup in Finals’ Game 1 loss to Suns

Jul 6, 2021, 8:55 PM | Updated: Jul 7, 2021, 7:11 am
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks rests against the Phoenix Suns during the second h...
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks rests against the Phoenix Suns during the second half in Game One of the NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena on July 06, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

After hyperextending his knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bucks’ All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo returned to Milwaukee’s lineup for Game 1 of the NBA Finals vs. the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

The Bucks lost the first game of the Finals, 118-105, while the two-time MVP recorded a double-double of 20 points, 17 rebounds and four assists.

“It’s okay,” Antetokounmpo said. “You know, obviously not trying to make it about me, but felt great. You know, the medical staff cleared me to play, and you know, out there I had my balance. Thought my knee was stable. Did not feel pain. So I felt good.

“You know, from my treatment to lifting and getting on the court, pool sessions, keeping my foot elevated, like 24 hours a day,” he added. “And obviously it wasn’t easy but I was willing to do it, and the medical staff had a great program for me that I was able to do what I had to do to stay in shape and at the same time recover and not have a lot of swelling in my knee.”

Antetokounmpo came out of the gates fast for Milwaukee, putting up eight points, five rebounds and two assists in eight minutes of work in the first quarter.

The two-time MVP finished the first half with 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists in 16 minutes.

Antetokounmpo couldn’t seem to find a rhythm at the free throw line, though, ending the game going 7-for-12.

Defensively, the Bucks forward made his presence felt by grabbing 15 defensive rebounds, recorded two steals and blocked one shot.

Despite the loss to the Suns, Antetokounmpo looked healthy for Milwaukee, as he played 35 minutes for his team.

Only forward Khris Middleton (45) and point guard Jrue Holiday (40) logged more minutes for the Bucks.

Game 2 of the NBA Finals is on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Phoenix Suns Arena.

Catch all the Finals action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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