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Report: Giannis Antetokounmpo will play in Game 1 vs. Suns [UPDATE]

Bucks All-Star is dealing with a hyperextended knee and it looks like he’s going to end up playing to start the Finals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks on before Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Atlanta Hawks at Fiserv Forum on July 01, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Update, Game 1 — Giannis Antetokounmpo will play in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals vs. the Suns, per multiple reports. This is a bit of a shock. Giannis went from doubtful on Monday night to questionable earlier today and then deemed fit to play prior to tip-off. He looked good enough in warmup videos but you wonder if this is a mistake on the Bucks part with Giannis’ long-term health in mind.

Regardless, here we go! The Bucks are at full strength and so are the Suns for Game 1. The line has been bouncing between 5.5-6 points in favor of the home team the past few days. We can now expect a big surge of money to come in on the Bucks with Antetokounmpo ruled in and we should see the spread and ML shift accordingly.

This is tough news to approach for DFS Showdown. Do you trust Giannis at such a high salary? Or do you fade him and hope that he’s limited a bit by the knee or even a decoy in Game 1. Right now, we should wait and see if there’s a minutes limit. Chances are they don’t limit Antetokounmpo because if he can play, he better be able to go full throttle (Charlie’s Angels 2). So it feels like a good spot to lean on the Suns guys (CP3, Book, Ayton) and also fit in Middleton and/or Holiday if you want to fade the Greek Freak. A stars and scrubs approach with Giannis may provide a bit of leverage but is also risky.

Giannis is expected to be closer to a game-time decision for Game 1, per Adrian Wojnarowski. Antetokounmpo is going through warmups and they’ll likely make a decision closer to tip-off. He’s been receiving treatment around the clock with hopes of returning. We’ll see if that’s the best plan of action for the Bucks with there being plenty of off days in this series. After Games 1 and 2, there’s at least two days between each other game the rest of the way.

Antetokounmpo has been upgraded to questionable to play in Game 1 vs. the Suns on Tuesday night. This is a big development after he was listed as doubtful last night. Now, it appears there’s a chance Giannis will play in Game 1. We’ll see if that’s a good idea or not. It’s been almost a week since he hyperextended his left knee in Game 4 of the East Finals. Rushing back Antetokounmpo could have a big impact short and long-term.

There are a decent amount of bettors backing the Bucks on the spread, which is up to +6.5 for Milwaukee as of this afternoon. That number will shift with this news that Giannis could play. If Antetokounmpo gets in there and isn’t limited, we could see the line move pretty drastically before tip-off later. You’d think with Giannis healthy, the spread would be closer to 2-3 points in favor of Phoenix.

Milwaukee Bucks PF Giannis Antetokounmpo is being listed as doubtful for Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Final vs. the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night. Antetokounmpo suffered a hyperextended left knee in the Eastern Conference Finals in Game 4 vs. the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks would go on to win Games 5 and 6 to clinch a trip to the Finals while Giannis was sidelined. He was considered a question mark heading into Game 1 of the series, which will be broadcast on ABC at 9 p.m. ET.

The Suns are currently 5.5 point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook in Game 1 at home. Now that it’s pretty clear Giannis isn’t going to play, we should see odds shift a bit before tip-off on Tuesday night. It may not move more than a point or two, however, considering it’s the NBA Finals and we saw Milwaukee handle things in the East Finals without Antetokounmpo. The over/under had moved up to 218.5 from 217 when things opened. No Giannis means more opportunity in the paint for Deandre Ayton.

In terms of fantasy basketball, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will be popular plays on Milwaukee. The issue there is the Suns have a pair of solid defenders in Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder. Middleton could run into issues getting off clean shots, which could lead to the Bucks struggling a bit on offense. It’s not going to be easy going on the road in Game 1. Ayton feels like a great all-around play in Showdown as a potential Captain’s play. He’ll have to deal with Brook Lopez but nobody else on Milwaukee can touch Ayton’s size other than Giannis (who is probably out).