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Short-handed Bucks take another hit with Portis Jr.'s early ejection vs. Pacers in Game 4

Bobby Portis Jr. Milwaukee Bucks Bobby Portis Jr. - The Canadian Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bobby Portis Jr. let his emotions get the best of him Sunday night and it proved costly for the already short-handed Milwaukee Bucks.

With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard both out with injuries, coach Doc Rivers had spent two days talking about the key role Portis needed to play if the Bucks intended to overcome a 2-1 series deficit.

Then, less than seven minutes into Game 4, Portis grabbed a towel and was escorted to the locker room after drawing two technical fouls and an ejection on the same play.

“No matter how old you are, he has to learn. All of us can,” coach Doc Rivers said after the Bucks' 126-113 loss. “I thought it was probably a lesson for Bobby and all of us, you know all the young guys.”

Six technical fouls were called Sunday, all in the first half.

But the pivotal sequence began with Portis and Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard getting locked up while battling for a rebound, which resulted in a brief shoving match and stoppage in play for a replay review.

Portis and Nembhard were called for technical fouls for the initial shoves, and then the refs assessed a second technical to Portis for slapping Nembhard in the head. Both were deemed to be hostile acts, and the ejection complicated what Milwaukee did the rest of the night.

“I wish I could have got him (Brook Lopez) some rest,” Rivers said. “He missed four free throws, that's fatigue.”

And things could get even worse Tuesday night.

There's no assurance Antetokounmpo, the two-time league MVP who has not played since straining his left calf April 9, or Lillard, who injured his right Achilles tendon in Friday night's overtime loss will return for Game 5. Khris Middleton, who sprained his right ankle in Game 2, apparently sprained his left ankle in Game 4.

And Pat Connaughton may need tests on his injured ribs before Rivers know whether the backup guard will be available for the elimination game.

How bad has it gotten?

“I don't know, I don't even want to know,” Rivers said when asked if he received a postgame medical report. “I didn't even talk to our medical guys because I wanted some good news for about five minutes. Every time I talk to them, it's not good news. So I'm just hoping if I don't talk to them, they'll be OK.”