Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss his first game of the season when the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Toronto Raptors tonight. Antetokounmpo isn’t playing due to injury management. He is dealing with a calf injury, as per the Bucks report. The two-time MVP had been carrying the load for the team in the Bucks’ last few games.
Damian Lillard missed two games because of a calf injury before returning in their last outing against the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks had a day off between games but still decided to give Antetokounmpo some rest ahead of a grueling schedule as they play thrice in four days between Friday and Monday.
Milwaukee also had Lillard and Khris Middleton available, so it was an ideal time to rest Giannis. That gives them a chance to tackle the NBA’s player participation policy with the other stars on the floor. Middleton is expected to miss games frequently because of his own injury struggles, leaving Antetokounmpo with few opportunities to manage his workload.
Andre Jackson Jr. will replace Giannis Antetokounmpo tonight, who was a game-time decision.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence will help Damian Lillard find his grove
The Milwaukee Bucks will miss Giannis Antetokounmpo big time against the Toronto Raptors. It will be their first game without the ‘Greek Freak,’ which means they will miss his 29.5 points and 9.5 rebounds a game contribution to go with his 1.3 blocks. Their next best scorer is Damian Lillard, with 22.8 points.
However, his tenure in Milwaukee has been underwhelming. The former Rookie of the Year hasn’t shot the ball well, converting only 37.0% field goals, including 26.9% of his 3-point attempts. Antetokounmpo’s absence is unfortunate, but it also offers a chance for Lillard to rediscover his form.
He won’t have to bother about deferring to his co-star. The higher usage rate will allow him to settle against a tricky opposition. Dame must figure out a way to deviate from the Toronto Raptors’ defensive pressure. He will face aggressive coverage from Darko Rajakovic’s team without Giannis Antetokounmpo. It will be intriguing to see if the ex-Trail Blazer makes the most of his opportunity.
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