The two-day break in between Milwaukee Bucks games came in handy for Giannis Antetokounmpo as he continues to progress toward a return from a sore left knee.
Exactly when Antetokounmpo will return is still unclear.
Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player, missed his fifth consecutive game on Sunday. The Bucks, however, persevered with a comfortable 124-87 victory against the Magic in Orlando.
Milwaukee continues its three-game road trip in Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon against the Timberwolves.
Antetokounmpo worked out with the team on Sunday before the game, and didn’t show any ill effects according to Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. Milwaukee is 6-6 during its recent stretch where Antetokounmpo has missed seven of the past 12 games.
“He’s such a hard worker and he always has a plan for how he’s going to improve and attack a game or the season, so he’s in a good place,” Budenholzer said. “The conversations are positive and he understands the plan. Just keep working your way through it, don’t rush it and have patience.”
The Timberwolves were without center Karl-Anthony Towns on Tuesday during a 127-97 blowout loss at home to the Brooklyn Nets.
The game was moved from Monday night in the wake of the police shooting of Daunte Wright, which sparked protests around the city of Minneapolis. Players from both teams wore black warmup shirts pregame that read, “With liberty and justice for all,” with the last two words capitalized for emphasis.
“It’s not something you can get numb to and not something to feel like it’s normal because it’s not normal,” Timberwolves general manager Gersson Rosas said during an interview with ESPN Radio. “A life was lost last night, and that’s something that impacts all of us.”
Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot by a police officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center during a traffic stop on Sunday. According to reports, the Brooklyn Center police chief said the shooting was accidental, as the officer involved intended to fire a stun gun and not a handgun during a struggle with Wright, whom police were trying to arrest on an outstanding warrant.
“We live here,” Rosas said. “This is our community. To be experiencing this again in the middle of a trial is something that’s very emotional and overwhelming.”
Milwaukee snapped a three-game losing streak against Orlando led by Khris Middleton’s 21 points. The Bucks shot 48.9 percent overall and made 19 three-pointers. Bobby Portis made four of those triples and finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Pat Connaughton started in Antetokounmpo’s place and scored 11 points in 17 minutes.
“We lost three in a row, kind of good to you know, win again and feel the vibes, man,” Portis said after the game. “It sucks when you lose, man. The air just isn’t the same, man, when you breathe, man. Kind of good to get a win tonight and just try to get this back rolling.”
Towns opted out of Tuesday’s game to spend time with his family as he mourned the one-year anniversary of his mother’s death as a result of COVID-19.
Rookie Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 27 points and eight rebounds while D’Angelo Russell finished with 15 points off the bench.
When Towns returns to the court, Minnesota will continue to get a look at the potent combo of him and Russell in what would be their fourth game together since the latter returned following a two-month absence due to knee surgery.
–Field Level Media