It was time to remobilize for the Bucks after the home loss to the Bulls in Game 2 marked by the knee injury of Khris Middleton, whose absence was estimated at least two weeks.
The situation has become complicated but is not insurmountable for the defending champion, who has already experienced such a mishap during his last playoff campaign. In the conference final against the Hawks, it was Giannis Antetokounmpo who fell, also hit in the knee.
The “Greek Freak” had missed Game 5 and Game 6, both won by Milwaukee, with a 32-point lead from Khris Middleton in Game 6 at Atlanta to send the Hawks on vacation.
“We already did it last year collectively”recalled Khris Middleton. “When Giannis got injured, everyone had upped their game and played a major role. So I expect no less from them. I have a feeling the guys are ready to do it again. They know that at this stage of the year, it’s time to “Win or Go home”. So I know they’re going to give it their all.”
The best answer on Game 3
Khris Middleton was also reassuring about his injury, convinced that his unavailability will not drag on. “They said two weeks. I’m hopeful that I’ll be ready to get back on the pitch around that date.” he added.
For his part, Mike Budenholzer highlighted the versatility of his workforce to compensate for the package of his main lieutenant Giannis Antetokounmpo, with Jrue Holiday. That night, it was Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis who took over to allow the Bucks to regain the advantage of the field.
“We have a lot of good players. We have already talked about the depth of this roster, its quality. It is for this kind of situation that we did it. The “front office” has really put together a great team”he recalled. “We have reference points on this kind of frustrating things from which we can learn or take positives. It’s clear that our group learned from playing without Giannis for two games last year. The players know that you just have to find a way to win in the playoffs, and we feel able to do it again this year.