MILWAUKEE – The Miami Heat were supposed to be little more than a speed bump for the Milwaukee Bucks on their way to another seep playoff run, possibly resulting in their second NBA championship in three years.
Ans while Milwaukee’s path to 16 wins is still in front of them, they may have taken a massive step backwards Sunday night at Fiserv Forum.
NBA MVP Finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo landed hard late in the first quarter and had to go to the Bucks locker room for further evaluation. He was able to return in the second quarter but lasted for only one minute and 23 seconds before he limped back into the locker room for the rest of the game.
Antetokounmpo did not meet with reporters after the game, but coach Mike Budenholzer briefly updated the media after the final horn of a Miami 130-117 Game 1 victory.
"There was (an) X-ray that was clear here, so we'll monitor him, see how he does," Budenholzer said. "See how he wakes up, how he feels the rest of tonight and tomorrow."
Former Marquette star Jimmy Butler dominated as he put up 35 points and dished out 11 assists.
Jimmy is Jimmy,” says Bucks guard Jrue Holiday of Butler’s performance. “He's going to be aggressive. A lot of midrange. A lot of free throws. One thing that we need to cut out is the free-throw line."
Milwaukee was led by Khris Middleton’s 33 points on 12-22 shooting from the field.
Middleton has been used somewhat sparingly this season after first coming back from last spring’s knee injury and then offseason wrist surgery. He has also been dealing with a sore knee since returning in January.
"Still been working, these last whatever many days I've been out," Middleton said. "Still been able to shoot. I don't think it's that hard to get back into a flow or rhythm or anything like that."
Game 2 in the series will be Wednesday night back at Fiserv Forum.