Sports

Giannis back in Bucks lineup for Game 1 of Finals

As the Milwaukee Bucks play their first NBA Finals game in nearly half a century Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns, they will do so with superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo in the starting lineup.

Antetokounmpo, who suffered a hyperextended left knee on an awkward and ugly-looking fall in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals a week ago against the Hawks in Atlanta, will play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Phoenix, the team announced.

Antetokounmpo was listed as doubtful for Games 5 and 6 of the East finals, and was ruled out early in the afternoon before each of those games. Tuesday, however, Antetokounmpo was upgraded from doubtful to questionable on the league’s initial injury report, which is released at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Then, about two hours before the game, Antetokounmpo was on the court testing out his knee, going through some shooting and dribbling drills to see if it would feel good enough to go against the Suns.

During his pregame media availability, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer declined to get into specifics about where Antetokounmpo was at in his recovery.

“I think the word we’ve used is he’s making progress,” Budenholzer said. “He did some work on court.

“We’ll take a second and listen to him in the back, listen to the medical, listen to the sports performance group and update if there’s any changes or when it’s appropriate.”

Antetokounmpo, 26, is averaging 28.2 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 15 games this postseason, and is coming off a third straight first-team All-NBA season and fifth straight All-Star campaign for the Bucks. He signed a five-year supermax contract extension with Milwaukee back in December to remain with the franchise for the foreseeable future, a move that came in the wake of the Bucks sending several future first-round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for star guard Jrue Holiday.

The Bucks are in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974, and are hoping to win their first NBA championship since 1971, when Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were starring for Milwaukee. The Suns, on the other hand, have never won an NBA title, and are in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1993, when Charles Barkley and the Suns lost to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in six games.

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