Giannis Antetokounmpo had warned he wouldn’t know to a certainty how his return from injury really went until the morning after. According to the Bucks and their star, his hyperextended knee came through Game 1 of the NBA Finals just fine.
“No, I feel good. I was out there, so I felt good. I tried to help my team in any way possible. But going to Game 2, can’t predict the future, hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to win,” said Antetokounmpo, brushing off questions about any soreness by saying dealing with the media was tougher than the injury.
“I feel good. I feel good. I don’t feel good doing this media. Thank God, first day I didn’t have to do it. But my body feels good.”
After he’d missed the final two games of the Eastern Conference finals, Antetokounmpo had 20 points, 17 rebounds and no setbacks.
“Everything this morning has been positive and clean,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “So far, all good. Looking at the film, he’s like everybody else. There’s some things he can do better and there’s some things he did well. Same as our group.”
One thing Budenholzer wants to see his team do better is get to the line. Whether that’s the Bucks drawing fouls or the refs calling them, he was coy.
“You trying to bait me?” Budenholzer said with a laugh when asked about the Suns taking 26 free throws and Milwaukee just 16 in Game 1. “No, I mean, it’s a huge part of the game; they had 25 points from the free-throw line. We’re a team that prides ourselves in defending and being able to be good defensively without fouling.
“I can’t remember the last time a team got 25 free throws in a game against the Bucks. And then conversely, the way Giannis attacks, the way Khris [Middleton] attacks, as many opportunities as Khris has with the ball … it’s frustrating.”
The Suns lost forward Dario Saric to a torn ACL.
“It’s tough. I talked to Dario [Wednesday] morning when I got in, and just to hear it in his voice,” Chris Paul said. “He’s a guy that’s all about team, works his tail off day in and day out. He’s one of us. That’s our brother. So it’s tough.”
Torrey Craig got 16 minutes in Game 1, while little-used Frank Kaminsky got four minutes after logging just seven in two Western Conference finals appearances.
“We have different options,” Williams said. “Frank gives us quality size and play-making ability. He’s smart. We went small [Tuesday] night with Torrey. We also have [Abdel Nader], who can play some small-ball. … We’re just going to try to make those decisions on the fly.”
Saric was averaging 4.5 points in 10.5 minutes per game in the playoffs.