Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is making a good progress but still he is doubtful for Game 1 of the NBA Finals versus the Phoenix Suns. "He's had a good day," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
"He's making good progress." Bucks' Khris Middleton acknowledged that everything is easier with Antetokounmpo on the floor. "When Giannis is out there, a lot of times we can just give him the ball and let him go to work and let him orchestrate a lot of things out there," Middleton said.
"Without him, we have to do it by committee." While Antetokounmpo was out, Jrue Holiday stepped up. "[I'm trying to] just continue to be aggressive," Holiday said. "No letdowns, because the way Giannis [plays], there are no letdowns.
He's continuously going to the basket, being aggressive on both ends of the floor. He does so much for this team that I just felt like losing that would be really hard for us."
Middleton doesn't want Antetokounmpo to rush his comeback
"[I told him] don't rush back in and put yourself at a greater risk for a greater injury," Middleton said.
"He's a guy -- he puts so much time and effort into his body to be the best version of himself also." Even without Antetokounmpo, the Bucks managed to make it past the Atlanta Hawks. "The pressure they put on the paint has been pretty consistent, even with Giannis [out], but you see a different way of doing it now with Jrue [Holiday] attacking and [Brook] Lopez diving," Suns coach Monty Williams said.
"That's been something that we have to respect. You have to respect them anyway with Giannis getting into the paint -- in transition, in isolation, when he dives in the pick-and-roll, especially with [Khris] Middleton.
So, without Giannis, there seems to be a different way of attacking the paint. And then all of their guys that crash the boards. "So, they haven't stopped playing the way they want to play. The pressure on the paint has been pretty consistent in the playoffs."
Suns' DeAndre Ayton is preparing as if Antetokounmpo will be ready to play in the series. "Mainly just matching his physicality and, at the end of the day, just competing," Ayton told ESPN during a segment on The Jump.
"You cannot back down from the challenge. Just knowing his foul awareness, being the first man on defense and just showing him a wall. At the end of the day, you want to stay between him and the ball. "It's just being ready for the challenge, period."