Bucks reportedly pessimistic that Khris Middleton will play in Recreation 7


Celtics

Middleton’s missed every game so far in the series due to an MCL sprain.

Khris Middleton hasn’t played so far in the series against the Celtics. The Associated Press

Bucks guard/forward Khris Middleton hasn’t played in the first six games of the Celtics-Bucks second-round series. It appears he’ll miss the seventh and final game of the series, too.

Milwaukee doesn’t seem to be optimism that Middleton will be available for Game 7, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

“Earlier this week, the folks I was talking to were giving me some optimism about Middleton playing this weekend, but that has not happened. That has not developed,” Windhorst said on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” “And now I would say there’s pessimism about Sunday, and frankly, I have been told that even if the Bucks advance to the conference finals, there’d be pessimism he’d be ready to start.”

Middleton’s been out since he suffered an MCL sprain on April 20 during the Bucks’ first-round series against the Bulls, missing the final three games of that series before missing every game up to this point in the conference semifinals. Even though it was reported prior to the series that Middleton would miss the entire second round, there had been rumors earlier in the week that he could return if the series went seven games.

The absence of Middleton is certainly huge for the Bucks. Without its 20-point-per-game scorer, Milwaukee is scoring just 104.8 points per 100 possessions in its series against Boston. That’s down from the 115 points per possession it scored with Middleton on the court during the regular season.

The Bucks have also had very little scoring outside of Giannis Antentokounmpo (35.3 points per game) and Jrue Holiday (21 points per game) throughout the series. Pat Connaughton’s the only other Buck averaging double-digit scoring, at 11.7 points per game. In Middleton’s absence, the Bucks have been forced to play Wes Matthews, Grayson Allen, and George Hill heavy minutes, to which they haven’t had much success. The Bucks have been a net-zero per 100 possessions with Matthews on the floor during the series, but they’ve been outscored by 21 points per 100 possessions when Allen’s been on the floor and 16 points per 100 possessions when Hill’s been on the floor .

Middleton’s been known in recent years to be a “Celtics killer,” too. In the 2018 playoff series against the two teams, Middleton scored 24.7 points per game on .598/.610/.737 shooting splits. He hasn’t had as much success against the Celtics this season, though, scoring 14.3 points per game on .410/.389/.800 shooting splits.

As for the Celtics, it’s unclear if starting center Robert Williams will play in Game 7. After missing nearly four weeks of action in March and April due to a torn MCL, Williams has missed the last three games due to a bone bruise, which has caused knee soreness in the same knee he tore his MCL.

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