Milwaukee Bucks of America direly missed the absence of their Nigerian-born star, Giannis Adetokunbo (Antetokounmpo), as the Greece international sat out his fourth straight game with a sore left knee. He missed his sixth game in the last 11.
BSNSports.com.ng reports that The Bucks were without all five of their usual starters Friday night as they hosted Charlotte Hornets a night after losing at Dallas, with the back-to-back and reigning most valuable player among the absent quintet.
Absent alongside ‘The Grek Freak’ were Jrue Holiday (bruised left knee), Donte DiVincenzo (bruised right hip), Brook Lopez (sore back), Khris Middleton (sore right knee) and reserve forward P.J. Tucker (strained left calf).
Middleton and Lopez were listed as doubtful on Friday afternoon’s injury report, but Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said at his pregame availability that neither will play.
Before taking advantage of Antetokoumpo’s absence, The Hornets announced that Gordon Hayward would miss at least a month with a sprained right foot, while rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball has not played since March 20 because of a fractured right wrist.
Malik Monk has been out the last week with a sprained right ankle, but The Hornets twinkled against The Bucks, who are coming back from a six-game trip in which they went 3-3. They ended the trip by losing 116-101 at Dallas on Thursday.
It was the second straight home game in which The Bucks would be missing most of their key players, but they have not played at home since a 102-96 loss to New York Knicks on March 27.
Antetokounmpo, Middleton, Holiday, DiVincenzo and sixth-man Bobby Portis all also missed that game and The Hornets held off a fast-finishing Bucks outfit 127-119 to clinch their 27th win of the season.
The Bucks struggled through the first three quarters before rallying down the stretch but they still outscored Charlotte by 11 points in the fourth quarter, yet they were ultimately unable to avoid their third straight defeat.
Elsewhere in USA’s National Basketball Association (NBA), San Antonio Spurs let victory slip through their fingers as they went down 121-119 to Denver Nuggets, as Keldon Johnson, Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan all missed shots in the dying seconds, with Nikola Jokic again instrumental in helping The Nuggets escape with their eighth consecutive win.
Jokic finished with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists, while Derrick White led the way for The Spurs with 25, while a 50-point effort from Zach LaVine was not enough for Chicago Bulls in a 120-108 loss to Atlanta Hawks.
A dominant first half from the visitors was undone with a sloppy third quarter, which Trae Young, who finished with 42 points, took full advantage of to lead Atlanta’s late fightback, while New York Knicks snapped Memphis Grizzlies’ four-game winning streak with a gritty 133-129 overtime victory.
The Grizzlies were left to rue some missed free throws down the stretch as the Knicks improved their win-loss record to 26-27, while Indiana Pacers defeated the Orlando Magic 111-106, Boston Celtics got the better of Minnesota Timberwolves 145-136 in a high-scoring affair, Washington Wizards scraped past Golden State Warriors 110-107 and Los Angeles Clippers beat Houston Rockets 126-109.