The Milwaukee Bucks are in the middle of a playoff race, so it’s certainly odd that stud youngster Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t play in the Bucks’ 104-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Antetokounmpo has been healthy all season and was healthy on Wednesday night, but for whatever reason, head coach Jason Kidd didn’t play him.
Kidd didn’t give any reason for starting Jared Dudley over Antetokounmpo before the game, and the tone didn’t change after the game, according to Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“Coach’s decision,” Kidd said for the fourth time. “It was a coach’s decision. I don’t know what, you guys can’t hear? …You guys are smart. How about the game?”
Perhaps this was Kidd trying to quietly handle an internal matter and attempting to take the focus off it. But when Antetokounmpo was asked about not playing, he was dumbfounded:
“I don’t know,” Antetokounmpo said after the game. “It was coach’s decision — I don’t know — for me not to play today.”
It’s unclear if Antetokounmpo will play against the New York Knicks on Friday, although Kidd said he’ll practice on Thursday. But beyond that, it’s a question mark.
Antetokounmpo is averaging 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds on the year for a Bucks squad that’s 38-40 on the season and in the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference a year after finishing with the NBA’s worst record. Hopefully this is just a one-time problem that has been patched up and doesn’t affect the organization moving forward.