Giannis Antetokounmpo returns to Bucks lineup for his 27th birthday

MILWAUKEE – Giannis Antetokounmpo is celebrating his 27th birthday by returning to the Milwaukee Bucks lineup after a two-game absence.

The two-time MVP is among the Bucks’ top five starters for their Monday night game with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Antetokounmpo had been listed as questionable due to a sore right calf that knocked him out in the previous two games.

“We’ll see how he feels when he warms up and we’ll figure it out,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said Monday before the lineups were released.

The Bucks split the two games Antetokounmpo missed last week.

In their first game without him, the Bucks lost 97-93 at the Toronto Raptors on Thursday to snap an eight-game winning streak. They recovered at home two nights later with a 124-102 victory over the Miami Heat.

Antetokounmpo is scoring 27.6 points per game this season to rank second in the NBA, behind Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant. He is also averaging 11.8 rebounds and six assists.

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets is the only other NBA player to average at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists this season.