Giannis Antetokounmpo Makes Triumphant Return To Lineup

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks, NBA
Mar 21, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) passes the ball away from Brooklyn Nets center Cameron Johnson (2) and guard Lonnie Walker IV (8) in the third quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Since winning six straight games coming out of the NBA All-Star Break, the Milwaukee Bucks have been playing some inconsistent basketball. They are 4-4 since that point, navigating some time with superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo being out of the lineup.

Antetokounmpo was dealing with what the team called hamstring tendinopathy, which usually comes about from overuse. He sat out two games, a victory over the Phoenix Suns and a loss to the Boston Celtics, before returning to the court on Thursday night against the Brooklyn Nets.

It was a triumphant return for Antetokounmpo who played 35 minutes and helped his team to a 115-108 victory. In the game, he scored 21 points to go along with nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks Updates

“You try to control what you can control,” Antetokounmpo said. “Things like this are going to pop up now and then. Kind of unexpected, but at the end of the day, these are the cards you’ve been dealt, and you just have to keep on figuring it out, keep on playing through pain, playing through adversity.”

It wasn’t the gaudy, eye-popping stat line that we have become accustomed to seeing from Antetokounmpo, but it had to be a relief for the team just to see him make it through unscathed. Being able to play 35 minutes with no issues being reported is as important as winning the game.

Alas, the Bucks lineup was still not full for the game. Khris Middleton, who is working his way back from an ankle injury that cost him 16 games, sat out the contest against the Nets.

It was the second night of a back-to-back set, so the Bucks decided to give him the night off after he played 33 minutes against the Celtics. He made his return to the lineup over the weekend against the Suns in the upset victory that Antetokounmpo missed.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks Updates

“He’s been out all these games, and he’s playing great,” Bucks coach Doc Rivers said before Thursday’s game. “We just want to keep him where he’s at.”

It has been a long time since the Bucks had their Big 3 of Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Damian Lillard on the court at the same time. February 3rd was the last time that trio suited up together, but that should change on Sunday evening. That is when the Bucks are hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second game of their three-game homestand.

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