17 April, 2023
Antetokounmpo played 11 minutes and contributed 6 points and 3 rebounds as the Heat built a 68-55 halftime advantage. The Bucks entered the playoffs with the greatest record in the NBA, thus Milwaukee’s chances of winning it all were dimmed when he went down with an injury.
April 16 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is hurt in the first quarter of Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round Playoffs on April 16, 2023, at Fiserv Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their opponent is the Miami Heat.
In the closing minute of the first half, Herro hurt his hand going for a loose ball. He made an exit attempt but stayed on the floor for the rest of the game, eventually even shooting a basket. He jogged to the locker room at the halftime buzzer, clearly in discomfort.
The Heat updated everyone at halftime on his condition.
The Heat go hot and hold off Bucks comebacks.
Milwaukee, down by 13 at halftime, mounted a strong push in the third to stay within striking distance, getting as close as 81-77. Love, stepping up his long-distance game without Herro, scored 10 points as the Heat went on a 21-11 run to conclude the quarter.
Without Antetokounmpo, a five-time member of the All-Defensive Team, the Heat were able to feast on Milwaukee’s defense. They made 15 of 25 three-point attempts (at a 60% clip) and shot 59.5% from the field overall. As of the end of the third quarter, they had 102 points. In the final minutes of the game, the Bucks trimmed Miami’s advantage to single digits on multiple occasions.
Jimmy Butler had 35 points, 11 assists, and 3 steals to lead the team. Bam Adebayo contributed 22 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals, while Love scored 18 points, grabbed 8 boards, and shot 4 of 7 from deep off the bench. Former All-Star forward Kevin Love (now 34) has played in 21 games this season, averaging 7.7 points per contest.
Although the Heat were on target from deep, the Bucks shot just 11-of-45 (24.4%). Overall, they were only able to shoot 49.5% from the floor, which was not enough to keep up with the blazing pace set by the Heat. Milwaukee was led by Khris Middleton (33 points, 9 boards, 4 assists) and Jrue Holiday (16 points, 16 dimes). From beyond the arc, he made just 2 of 9 attempts.
Two-time league MVP and likely Finals MVP in 2021, Antetokounmpo is the driving factor behind Milwaukee’s status as a title favorite. He shot 55.3% from the field and averaged 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game this season. He was recently shortlisted for Most Valuable Player along with Joel Embiid and Nikola Joki.
The Bucks and the NBA would be greatly affected by his absence. Milwaukee will have to rely more heavily on Holiday and Middleton, both of whom have been named to the All-Star team many times, if he is out for an extended period of time.
Meanwhile, the Heat have an opportunity to try to pull off the Bucks’ second postseason shock in four years. In 2020, on the final day of the regular season in Florida, the fifth-seeded Heat stunned the first-seeded Bucks to get to the NBA Finals. But, they have to care for their own harm.
After winning Sixth Man of the Year in 2022, Miami’s Herro was the team’s third-leading scorer in his first season as a starter. He shot 37.8 percent from outside the arc and averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game this season.
Game 2 odds have yet to be set by bookmakers until they see how the injury report unfolds.