NBA

Middleton exits with knee 're-aggravation' as Bucks secure East's top seed

By Sports Desk April 06, 2023

The Milwaukee Bucks clinched the Eastern Conference top seed with Wednesday's 105-92 win over the Chicago Bulls but lost Khris Middleton in the first quarter after re-aggravating a knee issue.

The Bucks were also without Giannis Antetokounmpo with right knee soreness, but Bobby Portis stepped up with 27 points and 13 rebounds and Brook Lopez added 26 points with Jrue Holiday contributing 20 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists.

Middleton has been restricted to 32 games this season, due to a combination of wrist and knee issues, and exited Wednesday's game having played only eight minutes with no points.

"It's right knee soreness," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters about Middleton. "It's a re-aggravation of something that we've been working with him on all year."

The Bucks have two more regular season games before the playoffs but Budenholzer was unclear on whether Middleton would be available prior to the postseason.

"We'll learn more going forward," Budenholzer said. "So, I couldn't say tonight."

Budenholzer paid credit to his players to earning the Eastern Conference's top seed with an NBA-best record of 58-22.

"It's a credit to the players," Budenholzer said. "The players have really stepped up.

"They've embraced the challenge night-in and night-out in this league is hard. There is great opposition. I think we want to be our best night-in night-out.

"To have the best record is something that matters. It is important. Now we get to take a breath, I have no idea what we'll do Friday and Sunday. We'll take a breath. The guys have earned it."

The Bucks take on the Memphis Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors in their final two regular season games on Friday and Sunday.

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