NBA Rumors: Giannis Antetokounmpo to miss entire first-round series vs. Pacers?

It doesn't appear as if Giannis Antetokounmpo is close to returning for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Two
Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Two / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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NBA Rumors: Giannis Antetokounmpo could still miss more time for the Milwaukee Bucks as they might have to beat the Indiana Pacers without him.

Even though the Milwaukee Bucks seemed to be a team that was sputtering toward the end of the season, there was a strong expectation that while they could struggle a bit with the upstart Indiana Pacers, the Bucks would eventually find a way to pull through in this first-round NBA Playoff series. Though, that was before the twist of having to do so without Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Suffering a calf injury late in the season, Giannis was expected to miss the start of their series against the Pacers. However, the hope was that he could return at some point. But now that is officially in jeopardy.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Giannis isn't close to returning and the Bucks should expect to be without him for a while, perhaps even the duration of the team's first-round series against the Pacers.

Even if this first-round series between the Bucks and Pacers goes the distance, Game 7 is slated for May 4. That's a little more than a week. If Giannis still isn't running or cutting, or even scrimmaging yet, you'd have to think that he's at least 1-2 weeks away. That makes it very unlikely that Giannis would return in this series.

Can the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Indiana Pacers without Giannis Antetokounmpo?

The big question for the Bucks is whether they can beat the Pacers without him. In Game 1, it appeared as if the Bucks weren't going to have much of an issue with the inexperienced Pacers. However, a strong performance from Pascal Siakam in Game 2 has completely changed the outlook for Milwaukee.

With the series tied at 1 game apiece, the series now shifts to Indiana. If the Pacers hold court on their home floor, this series gets that much more interesting. The Bucks having to win this series without Giannis has clearly made things a ton more difficult than it needs to be.

Game 3 should be pretty telling. If the Bucks can win back homecourt advantage and steal Game 3 (or even Game 4), they should feel pretty good about their chances of winning this series. However, if the Bucks do end up losing Game 3, there's no question all the pressure is going to fall back on their shoulders heading into the thick of this series.

Nothing has been easy for the Bucks this season. It doesn't appear as if anything is changing at the start of their playoff run.

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