NBA East Finals 2021: It has become a familiar holding pattern in the Eastern Conference final. Both the teams are dealing with serious injuries.
Nothing has changed with the series headed back to Atlanta for a potentially clinching Game 6 Saturday night between the Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee is up 3-2 and can lock up its first trip to the NBA Finals since 1974.
Hawks star Trae Young has missed two straight games with a bone bruise in his right foot since a freak accident last Sunday when he stepped on an official’s foot along the sideline.
The Bucks took the court in Game 5 without their best player, two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was sidelined by a hyperextended left knee.
NBA East Finals 2021: The status of both players may not be known until shortly before tipoff at State Farm Arena, though Antetokounmpo is unlikely to play after the Bucks listed him as doubtful on their injury report.
The Hawks said Young is questionable — the same status he was given before the last two games.
“I have nothing for you,” Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said Friday during a Zoom call with the media.
Both teams have shown they can win without their most prominent players.
The Hawks led from start to finish in a 22-point romp in Game 4, though it must be noted Milwaukee was showing signs of a comeback until Antetokounmpo went down in the third quarter, landing awkwardly after a futile attempt to block Clint Capela’s dunk.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is DOUBTFUL to play in Game 6 vs. the Hawks.
Trae Young is QUESTIONABLE to play vs. Bucks pic.twitter.com/z5dx11D7XO
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) July 2, 2021
NBA East Finals 2021: With Young and Antetokounmpo both sidelined in Game 5, the Bucks returned the favor with a wire-to-wire victory after racing to a 20-point lead in the opening quarter.
McMillan said Young hasn’t felt comfortable enough to test his ailing foot under game conditions.
“If Trae could play, he would be out there,” the coach said. “It’s both the medical (staff) and Trae giving us feedback as far as him being able to play in the game. It’s not anything that’s long-term. It’s just he has pain that is not comfortable enough for him to get out there and feel like he can help the team.”