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Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo has perfectly reasonable explanation for first-quarter subs in NBA Finals games

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When you gotta go, you gotta go — even if you’re playing in the NBA Finals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been spectacular in the Bucks’ past two games against the Suns, but he has gotten off to slow starts in each of Milwaukee’s wins. The two-time NBA MVP left Game 3 at the 8:30 mark of the first period, only to return minutes later, leading to speculation about his health and conditioning. 

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“I just wanted to take a breather and come back. A lot of intensity. I was just — take a break,” Antetokounmpo said after Game 3 when asked why he came out. “I’ve always discussed with coach [Mike Budenholzer], like say, ‘Coach, if I need like 30 seconds, one minute, I’m going to let you know.’ And I think that was a time I needed, like, 30 seconds to a minute just to catch my breath and get back to the game. There was nothing wrong with me.”

Budenholzer subbed out Antetokounmpo at almost exactly the same point of Game 4, but when a reporter once again posed the question to Antetokounmpo on Wednesday night, he offered a different explanation.

“How do you guys say politely? I wanted to take a tinkle,” Antetokounmpo said. “A tinkle? Yeah, I wanted to take a tinkle and came back. That’s polite, right? Both games. I wanted to take a tinkle and went back.”

Hey, mystery solved — and great job by Antetokounmpo to keep his response rated PG.

Those bathroom breaks may have briefly slowed down Antetokounmpo in both contests, but he has been finishing strong. After a 41-point effort in Game 3, “The Greek Freak” posted 26 points, 14 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks in Game 4.

Maybe Budenholzer should keep that same substitution pattern for Game 5. It has worked well for the Bucks so far.

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