Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo will remain out with a calf injury and will miss Game 3 against the Pacers.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss Friday's Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers as he continues to rehabilitate a left soleus strain, the team announced.

Antetokounmpo has already missed the Bucks' first two games in the first round against the Pacers due to a left calf injury he suffered against the Boston Celtics on April 9.

Similar to Game 2, Antetokounmpo was initially listed as questionable before being ruled out on game day, but not before undergoing a pre-game warmup to test for the injury.

“He made a lot of ground moves today, probably the most I've seen,” Bucks coach Doc Rivers said after practice Thursday afternoon. “He was shooting and moving today.”

While this is the most detailed physical activity Rivers has done during his rehab from this injury, the Bucks coach also told reporters that Antetokounmpo has not been able to do any live action on the floor yet.

The Bucks split the first two games of the series before heading to Indianapolis on Thursday for Game 3 on Friday.

While Antetokounmpo's status has been clarified for Game 3, three-time All-Star Khris Middleton is still listed as questionable after suffering a sprained right ankle in the first quarter of Game 2. Middleton returned to the game and had 15 points, five rebounds and six assists in 36 minutes on Tuesday, but sat out practice on Thursday.

How did the Bucks fare without Antetokounmpo?

Behind Damian Lillard's ridiculous first-half performance, the Bucks won Game 1 against the Pacers in Milwaukee. Lillard scored 35 points in the first two quarters and the moment seemed too big for a young Pacers team that was in its first playoff series with Tyrese Haliburton running the show. With Lillard hitting 3-pointers from deep and the Pacers struggling to find any offensive rhythm, the Bucks led by 27 points in the first half and pulled away the rest of the way.

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Game 2 was much different. Lillard was impressive again in the first half, but the Pacers looked like the team they were in the regular season. After shaking off their performance in Game 1, the Pacers got back to putting pressure on the Bucks with layups and misses and went on a 23-4 fourth quarter run to shut out the Bucks and split the series heading to Indianapolis to play. 3.

Who needs the Bucks to step up?

Lillard has played well for the Bucks so far in this series without Antetokounmpo on the floor. He dominated the first half of games, but slowed down in the second half as he had to handle the brunt of the Pacers' defensive attention in all four quarters. Middleton played well in Game 1 with 23 points (9 of 14 from the field), 10 rebounds and four assists, but struggled in Game 2, going just 6 of 14 from the field for 15 points, as he dealt with the lingering effects of a sprain in his left leg. His right ankle in the first quarter.

For the Bucks to get a win in Game 3, they could use two things: a much better defensive performance as a team and a big game from Bobby Portis.

The Bucks were not disciplined on the defensive end in Game 3 as they allowed the Pacers to get out too often. When Antetokounmpo missed time throughout the regular season, Portis regularly made big plays offensively. After making 50.8 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from 3 en route to 13.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in a Sixth Man of the Year-nominated regular season effort, Portis averaged 14.5 points and 11 rebounds in his first two games. . of the series, but shot just 41.9 percent from the field, including 0-for-4 from 3.

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(Photo: Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

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