The Miami Heat are headed to the Eastern Conference Finals after defeating the Milwaukee Bucks. However, for a good part of the game, the Bucks gave the Heat fits. Eventually, the loss of their star Giannis Antetokounmpo proved too much for the team to overcome. Miami’s depth was also a big factor. Miami now awaits the winner of the Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors series.
Here are my takeaways from Tuesday’s win over the Bucks.
Jimmy overcomes early struggles
Jimmy Butler really struggled in the early part of the game. Four of Miami’s seven turnovers in the first period came from Butler. Butler played incredibly sloppy and was too passive early on. But Butler did respond in the second period. He had nine points, six rebounds, and four assists by halftime. Most importantly, the Heat’s all-star delivered late in the game with clutch free throws. Butler finished the night with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists.
The Bucks were without Antetokounmpo, who sat out with a sprained right ankle. Antetokounmpo injured the ankle twice in the previous two games. The Bucks star tried to test the ankle during warmups but in the end, he was unable to play. Instead, the Bucks had to go with a four guard lineup with Donte DiVincenzo staring in place of the Bucks’ star.
The league’s reigning MVP had his struggles against Miami whenever he played. Miami has matched up better against Giannis’ Bucks than anyone else in the league. It’s one reason the Heat could be a landing spot for Giannis should he choose to go elsewhere in free agency next summer.
Miami found themselves down 13 early and trailed 28-19 at the end of the first period. The Heat were too sloppy with the basketball and turned the ball over seven times. The Bucks took advantage of that early. A huge 33-9 run then helped the Heat push to a 52-46 halftime lead. Miami was able to push back thanks to the play of their bench. The Heat had a 22-6 bench scoring edge in the first half.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 9, 2020
Crowder again productive
When the Heat made their midseason trade with the Memphis Grizzlies, Andre Iguodala was seen as the headliner of the deal. But since the trade, Jae Crowder has made the most impact. His shooting and defensive versatility have been key to the Heat’s postseason success. He again played a huge role in Game 5 by slowing down the Bucks all-star guard Khris Middleton. He also continued to hit his shots from beyond the arc. Crowder finished the night with 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown. He also added six rebounds.
Next up: Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Date to be announced.
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