Giannis day-to-day heading into NBA Finals

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With the Bucks closing out the Eastern Conference Finals Saturday night, the NBA is off until Game 1 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night. Milwaukee will visit Phoenix, with the Suns being installed as the early favorites by the bookmakers. While there was no action in the NBA, it’s worth noting that there were four games of international importance on Sunday. With four FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments coming to a close, the men’s basketball field for this month’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo is now known. Let’s get into the Dose, beginning with an update on Milwaukee’s franchise player.

Antetokounmpo considered to be “day to day”

Following Saturday’s win over the Hawks, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said that Giannis Antetokounmpo (hyperextended left knee) is considered to be “day to day” at this point. After suffering the injury during Game 4 he was listed as doubtful ahead of Games 5 and 6, ultimately sitting out both. Whether or not Giannis is cleared to play will depend upon the Bucks’ training staff, Budenholzer and GM Jon Horst.

Bobby Portis filled the resulting void in the starting lineup in Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and played well, accounting for totals of 34 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, three steals and one 3-pointer. While his shooting numbers (12-of-28 FGs, 1-of-6 3-pointers) weren’t great, Portis’ activity on both ends of the floor certainly had an impact. If Antetokounmpo is unable to go Tuesday night, Portis would be the next man up. Also, Pat Connaughton scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds (to go along with three steals) in Games 5 and 6, with the majority of his damage being done in the series clincher. His DFS value wouldn’t be as high as that of Portis, but Connaughton shouldn’t have too high of a price tag if Giannis is unable to play.

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Suns’ Paul dealing with torn ligaments in hand

While missing the first two games of the Western Conference Finals due to COVID-19 did Chris Paul no favors, that may not have been the only reason for his struggles upon being cleared to play. Paul suffered torn ligaments in his right (shooting) hand during Game 3 of that series and, while the injury wasn’t severe enough to put him back on the shelf, it did have an impact on CP3’s shooting. In Games 3, 4 and 5 he shot a combined 19-of-60 from the field, averaging 18.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.7 3-pointers per. Obviously Paul bounced back in a big way in Game 6, scoring 31 of his 41 points after halftime and shutting the door on the Clippers.

On Saturday, Paul said that time time off has helped with regard to the hand injury, but that will be one of the key storylines of the NBA Finals. Backup point guard Cameron Payne has played well throughout the postseason, most notably when filling in for Paul in the first two games of the conference finals. And, if need be, Phoenix can shift some additional playmaking responsibilities to Devin Booker. Reserve wing Cameron Johnson, who was held out of Wednesday’s victory due to a non-COVID illness, is good to go for Game 1.

Luka posts a triple-double in win over Lithuania

A funny thing happened in FIBA’s four Olympic Qualifying Tournaments this week: none of the host nations advanced to Tokyo. Among those teams was Lithuania, which (like most of the NBA) had no answer for Luka Doncic. Doncic led Slovenia to the win, and the nation’s first-ever Olympic berth in men’s basketball, with a line of 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists. He scored 15 of those 31 in the second quarter, then did the majority of his damage after halftime as a distributor. Nuggets forward Vlatko Cancar added 18 points, five rebounds, one assist, two steals and four 3-pointers for the winners. Slovenia will be in Group C in Tokyo, joining hosts Japan, Argentina and Spain.

Lithuania, which failed to qualify for the Olympics for the first time as an independent nation, had three players score 14 points apiece, including Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (14/6/1/0/1). Pacers power forward/center Domantas Sabonis added nine points and six rebounds.

No Olympics for Hawks’ Bogdanovic

Sunday afternoon the Hawks had their end-of-season media availability, during which Bogdan Bogdanovic expressed a desire to represent Serbia in the Olympics. The question was whether or not he would be cleared by the Hawks to go, as he was dealing with a sore knee for much of the Eastern Conference Finals. Unfortunately for Bogdanovic, Italy got in the way of his Olympic hopes. The silver medalists at the Rio Olympics won’t be headed to Tokyo, as Italy won in Belgrade by a 102-95 score. Warriors point guard Nico Mannion, who played sparingly during his rookie season, led the winners with 24 points while also tallying four assists and one 3-pointer.

Neither Mavericks forward Nicolo Melli (5/4/0/1 with one 3-pointer) nor Heat forward/center Nemanja Bjelica (5/4/0/1 with one 3-pointer) had much of an impact for their respective teams. A question worth considering for Italy: will they give Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari a call ahead of the Olympics? Italy will be in Group B, which includes Australia, Germany and Nigeria.

Magic’s Wagner goes off as Germany wraps up spot

Moritz Wagner’s 2020-21 season was largely forgettable, ultimately finishing with the Magic. He’ll be a free agent this summer, and the Tokyo Olympics could serve as an audition of sorts for him. Wagner was outstanding in Germany’s win over Brazil Sunday afternoon in Split, Croatia, tallying 28 points, six rebounds, one assist, three steals and three 3-pointers. Germany, which beat hosts Croatia in the semifinals, will be making their first appearance at the Olympics since the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing (finishing tenth).

Anderson Varejao, who hadn’t played in the NBA since 2017 before the Cavaliers brought him back into the fold towards the end of the regular season, led Brazil with 14 points to go along with four rebounds. Bruno Caboclo, who was waived by the Rockets in mid-January, finished with nine points, five rebounds, one blocked shot and one 3-pointer.

Satoransky leads Czech Republic to blowout win

One day removed from its overtime win over hosts Canada in Victoria, the Czech Republic punched its ticket to Tokyo with a blowout win over Greece. The lone current NBA player for the winners was Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky, who recorded a line of 12 points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and two 3-pointers. Former NBA forward Jan Vesely put up a full line, going for 16 points, nine rebounds, five assists, five steals and one blocked shot. The Czechs earned the final spot in Group A, joining France, Iran and the United States.

Greece losing means that we won’t get to see Giannis Antetokounmpo in Tokyo. Former lottery pick Georgios Papagiannis (14 points, three rebounds) led the way offensively, while Lakers forward Kostas Antetokounmpo didn’t check in until a little over five minutes remaining in the game.


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