With the NBA Play-In Tournament done, the playoffs are officially underway with teams in the East and West battling to move onto the second round. Unfortunately, the first weekend of the playoffs also saw some significant injuries that are worth monitoring moving forward. Let’s take a look at this news and the impacts it could have.
Bucks’ Antetokounmpo Injured In Game 1
The Milwaukee Bucks currently have the second-best odds of winning the NBA Championship at +300, but Bucks’ fans were holding their breaths Sunday night as they watched superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo leave the game.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Antetokounmpo left the game with a lower back contusion.
According to head coach Mike Budenholzer, an x-ray came back clear, but he is considered day-to-day depending on how his back responds.
This was a crushing loss for the Bucks, who ended up losing the opening game 130-117. In just 11 minutes of play, Antetokounmpo had six points and three rebounds. This is obviously a far cry from the 31.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 5.7 assists that he averaged during the regular season.
In his stead, Khris Middleton had a nice game, going for 33 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to take down the Heat.
Giannis will have a couple days to rest his back and get treatment as Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday back in Milwaukee.
Herro’s Season Done
Giannis’ injury wasn’t the only significant one in the game. For the Miami Heat, ESPN’s Marc Spears reported that Tyler Herro suffered a broken middle and ring finger on his right hand towards the end of the first half.
As a result of the injury, Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra confirmed that he will miss the remainder of the season. It is expected that the injury will sideline Herro for at least four weeks.
Herro had a fantastic season this year. In 67 games, he averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
This is especially brutal news for a Miami team that struggles to score. They rank dead last in the NBA in scoring, averaging just 109.3 points per game.
In just 19 minutes, Herro had 12 points, two rebounds, and two assists in the game. Jimmy Butler was the main star of the night, scoring a game-high 35 points while also adding 11 assists and five rebounds.
For Miami, they are currently +8000 to win the NBA Finals this year, fourth-worst of the remaining teams.
Morant Leaves Game With Hand Injury
Herro wasn’t the only star who hurt his hand on Sunday. Grizzlies’ star Ja Morant is questionable for Game 2 after he hurt his shooting hand and wrist during the fourth quarter of Memphis’ 128-112 loss to the Lakers.
According to head coach Tim MacMahon, the x-rays came back negative, but it remains to be seen if Morant will be able to bounce back for the game on Wednesday.
In 30 minutes, Morant had 18 points and six rebounds. This will obviously hurt the Grizzlies as Morant led the team in scoring this year, averaging 26.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game.
Jaren Jackson Jr and Demond Bane had to do most of the heavy lifting for Memphis, combining for 53 points, but it still wasn’t enough. The Lakers had five players who scored 19 or more, led by Rui Hachimura’s 29 points.
The Lakers are now the favorites to win the series at -250, while the Grizzlies’ line is +205 to win the series.