The Milwaukee Bucks are on the verge of clinching the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, and a win over the Philadelphia 76ers can get the job done. As things stand, the Bucks’ magic number is just one with four games remaining, and getting it done Thursday night in a primetime game against the Sixers would be ideal.
With that said, the Bucks may remain a bit shorthanded, but there is some good news on the injury front. It’s been a tough recent stretch for Milwaukee, who got Giannis Antetokounmp back from a brief absence last game. They’re currently without Malcolm Brogdon, Nikola Mirotic, Pau Gasol, Donte DiVincenzo, Tony Snell, and as of late, Khris Middleton.
We’re going to take a look at the latest on Middleton’s injury, positive news on Antetokounmpo’s ankle, and the Bucks roster and starting lineup against the Sixers.
Khris Middleton Injury Status & Antetokounmpo’s Ankle
While the Bucks have been playing a bit shorthanded, the outlook is a bit more positive on Thursday. The league’s official injury report pegs Middleton as well as Ersan Ilyasova as probable to face the Sixers.
This comes on the heels of news revealed by Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, who cited Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer’s comments that Middleton is improving. Antetokounmpo also said he’s feeling 100 percent as well, which is big news for the final stretch of the season and heading into the playoffs.
It seems likely the Bucks will get a few players back in the mix against the Sixers, giving them a chance to lock in the No. 1 seed and potentially rest their starters for the last few games.
Milwaukee Bucks Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Sixers
*Notates projected starter
C: Brook Lopez*, D.J. Wilson
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo*, Ersan Ilyasova
SF: Khris Middleton*, Bonzie Colson
SG: Sterling Brown* Pat Connaughton
PG: Eric Bledsoe*, George Hill, Tim Frazier
Two games ago, Giannis, Middleton and Bledsoe all sat out of a 136-135 overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Both Antetokounmpo and Bledsoe returned for the team’s 131-121 win over the Brooklyn Nets, though, and the duo posted strong stats lines. Milwaukee’s star forward totaled 28 points with 11 rebounds while their point guard racked up a game-high 29 points with seven assists, five rebounds and five steals.
If Middleton were to miss this game for any reason, it would likely be Pat Connaughton who would draw another start. He logged 34 minutes against the Nets and scored 12 points with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. If Middleton is able to return, the likes of Connaughton, George Hill, D.J. Willson, and Ilyasova should all see decent minutes with the second unit.
During the last game which Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Bledsoe played, each of the four names previously mentioned played 14 or more minutes with three of them logging 20-plus off the bench.