By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite losing Giannis Antetokounmpo early in Game 4, the Milwaukee Bucks got to 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinal best-of-seven series. Khris Middleton led the charge on the court, but the Greek Freak still pumped up his teammates congratulating them in the locker room following Sunday’s overtime victory. With him available or not, another must-win game is up next.
“He is a true teammate,” said Eric Bledsoe referring to the soon-to-be two-times NBA MVP, “Even though he was in pain, he stood up for us. That is the size of a great leader. He will be back.”
“They are evaluating him now. We will how he goes in the next 24 to 48 hours,” explained head coach Mike Budenholzer following the tilt, “There was no consideration getting him back today.”
Prior to reinjuring his right ankle, he put up 19 points in 11 minutes. “He was phenomenal at the start of the game. He gave us a huge boost,” added Budenholzer on Antetokounmpo’s contribution.
“I think we relaxed a little bit,” confessed Jimmy Butler painting the picture for the Heat, “We stopped playing basketball and stopped guarding. It was just all bad. We got comfortable. We thought it will be easy but it is not.”
The Heat missed the chance to sweep the series but remain one win away from the Eastern Conference finals. Some questionable calls down the stretch were not challenged. Whatever the case, head coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged his team did not deserve to win.
“You have to credit Milwaukee in this game,” he said, “I thought in the fourth quarter when we went up 6 we had a chance to steal this game but the reality is they deserved to win the game. They were playing harder, with more force and consistency.”
Game 5 became necessary after Sunday’s 53 minutes in the NBA bubble set up in Orlando. “Play harder and smarter. We just need to play better as a team,” stated Goran Dragic moving on to the next match of the series.
Middleton packing a game-high 36 points stressed the importance of the Bucks retaining focus. “We have to fight every night to keep on playing,” he said.
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