The red-hot Milwaukee Bucks were dealt a significant setback on Saturday night.
Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe is expected to miss about two weeks with a right fibula avulsion fracture, the team announced after a 125-108 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers that extended Milwaukee’s winning streak to 18 games.
Bledsoe was hurt in the third quarter of the Bucks’ 127-114 victory over the Grizzlies in Memphis on Friday night. He tried to sneak behind Grizzlies center Jonas Valunciunas for a steal, but ran into teammate Wesley Matthews. Both players hit the floor, but Bledsoe went back to the locker room and didn’t return.
Bledsoe underwent a MRI in Milwaukee on Saturday and was also examined by team physician William Raasch.
“It’s tough,” Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “One of the best players on the team. He’s been playing amazing. Not just this winning streak, he’s been playing amazing the whole season.
“Obviously a big piece of this team, but I think guys step up.”
Bledsoe had started all 26 games before sitting out on Saturday, averaging 15.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and a team-high 5.7 assists.
“Just got to try to continue to play the same way,” Bucks guard Khris Middleton said. “He is a big part of what we do offensively and defensively as far as pushing the pace, getting guys involved and playing great defense. I think Donte (DiVincenzo) did a great job replacing him in the starting lineup and everybody else followed suit.”
DiVincenzo played 25 minutes and scored 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting. He added five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“Donte did an amazing job starting,” Antetokounmpo said. “Playing hard, defending. Doing everything, basically. Knocking down shots. Getting in the passing lanes. Getting deflections and all that.”
DiVincenzo is no stranger to the starting lineup, filling in when Middleton missed seven games with a left thigh bruise.
“It’s almost easier for me, just because I stepped in when Khris was down,” DiVincenzo said. “So I kind of just prepare normally. Whenever my number is called, I’m ready to go.”
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer likes DiVincenzo’s role with the starting unit.
“Giannis and Khris are just so steady,” Budenholzer said. “And they can have the ball in their hands a lot, too. To play (DiVincenzo) out there in the point-guard-type spot with the other guys who can handle a lot and not put as much pressure on him.
“Let George (Hill) kind of organize the second unit. He’s playing so good. Donte, tonight he was really aggressive and confident. It’s just great to see him play the way that he did.”
The Bucks have high-profile games at home next week, against the Mavericks on Monday and the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
“We got to wish Bled a fast recovery,” Antetokounmpo said. “Come back healthy and this team is going to be exactly how it is now when he gets back.
“We did it (when) Khris missed a lot of games. We were able to win games without him. We got to to it without Bled. If I ever miss games, they got to do it without me. We built a winning culture around the team and everybody knows what they got to do when we step on the floor.”
Courtesy: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel