Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will return for Game 4 Monday night, throwing a wrench in the Miami Heat’s plans of going up 3-1 in the series and potentially pulling off a first-round upset.
Antetokounmpo missed Games 2 and 3 with a lower back contusion but, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, is ready to make his return to the series. Antetokounmpo has been receiving treatment and was a partial participant in Milwaukee’s practice over the weekend.
Here are the projected starting lineups for Game 4 (7:30 p.m., TNT).
Projected Heat starting lineup vs Bucks
After Herro broke his hand in Game 1, coach Erik Spoelstra tried Duncan Robinson in the starting lineup in Game 2 but the result was a blowout loss in Milwaukee. For Game 3, Spoelstra used his third different starting lineup of the series, swapping Robinson for Kevin Love. Love provided a better size matchup against Brook Lopez and, with Antetokounmpo set to return, that size will still be needed.
This lineup allows Love to guard Lopez and Bam Adebayo to pick up Antetokounmpo, while Jimmy Butler, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent worry about Milwaukee’s ball-handlers and shooters. Butler has spent a lot of time guarding Jrue Holiday, while Vincent has defended Khris Middleton.
Projected Bucks starting lineup vs Heat
With Antetokounmpo back, we can assume he’ll return to the starting lineup, although it’s possible Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer elects to bring him off the bench. If Antetokounmpo does not get the start, Bobby Portis is likely to take his place. Portis started the last two games in Antetokounmpo’s absence.