UPDATE: Sept. 8, 5:44 p.m. — So this is a bit of a surprise. Giannis has been ruled out for Game 5 vs. the Heat, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported. Here’s some more insight via Shams.
Giannis Antetokounmpo‘ pregame warmup was entirely stationary. Bucks intend to protect him, and as much as the MVP wants to be on the floor, lack of mobility with the ankle makes playing difficult. https://t.co/cYHwGx0eve— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 8, 2020
Donte DiVincenzo has been confirmed as the replacement for Giannis in the starting lineup. So it’ll be Bledsoe, DiVincenzo, Wesley Matthews, Middleton and Brook Lopez starting. This is a very small lineup. The Heat will have a bit of a size advantage, though not by a ton. Crowder isn’t big for a 4 but is way more physical than Middleton and Matthews. I think we’ll see some Marvin Williams off the bench. Bledsoe, Middleton and Lopez should all see around 40 minutes.
We talked about this a bit on The Sweat just a minute ago. With Giannis out, you can’t like the Bucks’ odds of extending the series. You’ve got a pissed off Jimmy Butler on the other end. With Antetokounmpo sidelined, Khris Middleton will be very chalky in DFS. He’s only $8,600, so I’m OK paying up for him in cash games. In GPPs, he may be a fade candidate. The Heat should have a much easier time containing him with Giannis off the floor. Butler should shadow Middleton and we could see a lot of double teams coming his way.
With that said, we know the type of upside Middleton has with Giannis off the court. This is a huge game with the season on the line. The volume and minutes will be there for the All-Star forward. Middleton’s points prop was 25.5 earlier and I still back that to a degree. I wouldn’t touch the Bucks on the spread or ML. The spread is likely going to fly up to around 5.5 maybe 6.5 points before lock with this news.
UPDATE: Sept. 8, 4:48 p.m. — Giannis is going to be a game-time call for Game 5 vs. the Heat on Tuesday evening. This isn’t too surprising. We saw some videos of Giannis testing the ankle in warmups. My feeling is he’s going to play but will be monitored very closely. If he tweaks the ankle again, it could just make things way worse. If you’re Milwaukee, down 3-1 and unlikely to come back, let alone advance after that, why push Giannis? We’ll see though, I’d consider the Bucks and Antetokounmpo both risky plays in terms of betting and DFS.
Milwaukee Bucks PF Giannis Antetokounmpo will be listed as questionable for Game 5 vs. the Miami Heat on Tuesday, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Giannis left Game 4s win in the second quarter and was unable to return. He received treatment throughout the clock and Shams says the MVP is feeling similar to prior to Game 4 on Sunday.
Giannis was on a warpath prior to leaving Game 4. He had 19 points in 11 minutes before hurting his ankle again. The Greek Freak wanted to get back into the game, but for obvious reasons the Bucks opted to be cautious and hold him out. Giannis was unable to put much pressure on the ankle. It’s also encouraging that he’s feeling similar to before Game 4 since he ultimately ended up playing and looked fine. Milwaukee has some momentum finally and should have Antetokounmpo in there for Game 5 down 3-1 in the series.
If Giannis is unable to play, Khris Middleton would be the focal point of the offense. He carried the Bucks to the Game 4 win, scoring 36 points, including the final 5 points to clinch the victory in overtime. I’d be very interested in Middleton’s player props in the event Giannis is ruled out or held back by the ankle. Remember, Antetokounmpo injured the ankle in Game 3 but remained in the game. So this has been two instances in which Giannis’ ankle has gotten hurt.
The Bucks are also getting 3.5 points on the spread right now on DraftKings Sportsbook. If Giannis plays and looks like he did in those 11 minutes, I’d be interested to see if Milwaukee can pick up another win and make this a series. They are the No. 1 overall seed after all. I’ve been saying that if any team can come back down 3-0, it’s this Bucks squad.
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