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Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo out with hamstring soreness vs. Suns

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 14: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts to a dunk during the first half of a game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Fiserv Forum on March 14, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will not play against the Suns due to left hamstring soreness. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) (Stacy Revere via Getty Images)

The Milwaukee Bucks will have to handle the Phoenix Suns without their star Giannis Antetokounmpo. As first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Giannis won't play on Sunday due to left hamstring soreness.

This is just the fourth game Giannis has missed this season, despite frequently showing up on the injury report. He had been listed as questionable on Saturday, and head coach Doc Rivers said prior to Sunday's game that he expected Antetokounmpo to play. But just over an hour later, he was listed as inactive.

It's possible something Rivers said to Giannis impacted Giannis' decision to take a seat on Sunday. Eric Nehm, Bucks beat reporter for The Athletic, connected the dots to something Rivers said to the media on Saturday.

Rivers simply reminded his star that March isn't the time to play through injuries and he should save that grit for the playoffs. We don't know if that's what caused Giannis to sit on Sunday, but if it is, that's a good job by Doc. It's rare that you can see the impact of coaching that clearly, but that's an example of why the Bucks decided to make the midseason switch from Adrian Griffin to Rivers.

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Giannis is averaging 30.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game this season. He's shooting 61.6% from the field and 29.2% from the 3-point range.

It's never easy for a team to play without its star, and the Bucks are no exception, but there is a shade of good news: After missing 16 straight games with an ankle sprain, Khris Middleton made his return against the Suns. Coincidentally, the last time he played was on Feb. 6 against the Suns.