Sources: Giannis Antetokounmpo will play in Game 1 of Bucks-Suns.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 7, 2021
Nobody knew what was going to happen with him playing or not.
The injury that Antetokounmpo suffered in Game 4 against the Atlanta Hawks was extremely scary.
At first glance, we all thought he might have torn something in his knee.
We definitely didn’t think he would be back as soon as this.
However, Antetokounmpo suited up for Game 1 of the Finals, which the Bucks were ecstatic for.
The appearance of Antetokounmpo did not lead to a Game 1 victory, unfortunately.
Seeing him on the court is still a good sight for the Bucks, and even the NBA fans.
Game 1 was a win for the Phoenix Suns, but Antetokounmpo still had an impact on the game.
2. He Brought A Boost Of Energy
From the opening tip, Antetokounmpo seemed as healthy as possible.
The first play was an alley-oop for him.
He sent a message with a goaltend on Devin Booker that his knee was not going to stop him.
Then there was that beautiful chase down block toward the end of the first half.
Granted, the Bucks lost that first half, but if it wasn’t for his energy it could’ve been by more.
It wasn’t his best game, but he did put himself in a rare class.
Deandre Ayton and Giannis Antetokounmpo each recorded 15+ points and 15+ rebounds tonight. The last player to put up 15+ points and 15+ rebounds in their first career NBA Finals game was Tim Duncan with 33 PTS, 16 REB in 1999. pic.twitter.com/SoudRqprz5
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) July 7, 2021
It was an all-around game for the two-time MVP.
His offense was good, but his defense was great.
Game 1 showed that he is needed for a spark that the Bucks might need to beat a team like the Suns.
Hopefully, he can bring that energy for Game 2 and the Bucks can capitalize.
1. Disappeared In The Second Half
The first half was great for Antetokounmpo.
He was brilliant.
Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first half
1 steal pic.twitter.com/VmWmYKmTCc
— Basketball Reference (@bball_ref) July 7, 2021
However, the second half was different for him.
He finished with 10 points and eight rebounds in the second half.
The problem was that he only shot four times in that half.
He is the best player on the Bucks and needs to get more touches.
That might have not been the issue.
His knee injury was just last week and he had to miss two playoff games after that.
Playing in the NBA Finals is about high intensity.
Antetokounmpo does not have that problem of playing hard.
However, he might not be in shape to play in a big playoff game right away.
There were moments where you could see him breathing heavily and needing a break from the game.
Game 2 might be a different story.
Game 1 was a struggle as the game kept going.
By the end of the game, his energy was slightly down.
The first half was a great performance from Antetokounmpo.
However, the Bucks are going to need him for the entirety of the game.
The Bucks need to monitor his energy level a little bit more.
Perhaps Game 1 was a way for him to get ready for the rest of the series now.
The Suns are up 1-0 and Antetokounmpo needs to be prepared to step up.