Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard ‘very close’ to return as Bucks stave off elimination

The Milwaukee Bucks live to see another day after a huge Game 5 win over the Indiana Pacers.
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Five
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Five / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Milwaukee Bucks stave off elimination and the team gets some encouraging news on the injury fronts to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.

The Milwaukee Bucks live to see another day. Heading into their win-or-go-home Game 5 against the Indiana Pacers, without both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, many believed the inevitable was going to take place. However, instead of the Pacers closing out the series on Milwaukee's home floor, the Bucks took a strong stand to force a Game 6.

Still down 3-2 in the series, the Bucks got even more good news after their big Game 5 win. After the game, when asked about the potential availability of Lillard and Giannis heading into Game 6, Bucks head coach Doc Rivers offered an encouraging update.

This type of comment gives me the belief that both Giannis and Lillard are preparing to be available in Game 6. With their season on the line on the road, you'd have to imagine that all hands will be on deck as the Bucks take the floor in Game 6. How much they'll be able to play remains to be seen, but the team's supporting cast did its job in Game 5.

The Milwaukee Bucks will be looking to salvage their season in Game 6

Lillard and Giannis needed the Bucks to pull one out at home to extend the series and buy a few more days of recovery for them. That's exactly what they accomplished in Game 5. Now, in a position to force a Game 7, it's time for the stars to step up.

Considering how this series has gone, especially on the injury front, it's hard to envision the Bucks asking for much more than the opportunity they have in front of them. If in fact Giannis and/or Lillard are able to suit up for Game 6, you have to like the Bucks' chances as they ride the momentum from their decisive Game 5 win at home.

But here's the ultimate challenge for the Bucks: can they manage to carry their Game 5 momentum on the road? This is a team that battled consistency all season long and was a bad road team. Of all the Eastern Conference teams that qualified for the NBA Playoffs this season, only the Orlando Magic had a worse road record than the Bucks during the regular season.

So far in this series, the Bucks are 0-2 on the road. Milwaukee will need its best performance of the season to force a Game 7. The good news for the Bucks is that it appears as if both Giannis and Lillard could be back for Game 6.

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