The Miami Heat lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in game two on Monday night, and well, it wasn’t pretty. A scoring explosion from the Bucks and poor play from Miami leads to a result of one team looking much better than the other. On a very one-sided night, here are five takeaways from this game…
#1: A historic night. And not in a good way.
A good place to start this post-game piece is stating that this was a historic night for Miami. A historically bad one. They trailed 46-20 at the end of the first quarter, and 78-51 at the half. There aren’t many schematic ways that I can approach this game. But there are some obvious points that must be stated: Milwaukee made shots, a lot of them, and Miami did not seem fully ready. When a team is putting up that many points, there’s just not many things that you can do about it. Pinpointing certain issues throughout the game and individual players seems useless to an extent in this match-up, due to the fact increased play from one single player wasn’t changing the outcome. Of course there are things to discuss with specific players, but this night was going to be historically bad either way for the Heat.
#2: The first time Jimmy Butler wasn’t playing at his own pace.
The main takeaway from Jimmy Butler’s game one struggles was that he just missed shots, since many of them were open. Tonight’s primary takeaway was completely different. Butler was forced to play at a much different pace, and that’s something I haven’t seen from him many times in a Heat uniform. He is always able to speed up or slow down the game by getting to the free throw line or playing downhill in transition, but he doesn’t have the room to do so at the moment. When people claimed Miami would have to make threes against this Bucks team, there was a reason: the interior is just absolutely packed with solid team defenders at all times. They’re now able to throw different guys at him throughout the night, which puts a lot more pressure on the surrounding cast.
#3: Well, Dewayne Dedmon was good, but that’s it.
You may have thought all five takeaways would be negative from this domination of a game, but well, I got one positive thing to mention. Dewayne Dedmon was Miami’s best player tonight, and well, that’s an issue. He was the only Heat player in double figures at the half, and he only missed one shot in that span. An above the break three, the usual flip shots around the rim, and aggression made for a pretty unique half for Dedmon. When your buyout market acquisition is your only source of offense in a playoff game, that is a pretty big issue. Even though this was my one positive takeaway, it leads right back into a negative result, which was the theme of this game.
#4: Bam Adebayo didn’t have the expected #BounceBack, but I’m not sure it would’ve made a difference.
When people were talking about Bam Adebayo coming back from that non-aggressive game one to take initiative in game two, I wasn’t sold. That jump wasn’t made throughout 72 games in the regular season, so why would it be made in the second game of the post-season? He has his role on this team, and he’s not just going to flip a switch to become that natural scorer that many expect him to be in the future. But as much as his aggression seems to be harped on in this game, it would not have made the difference. It’s pretty clear that many people just want to see some heart from their second best player no matter the score, but it’s just a lazy take at times to just immediately point to that. He will need to be more aggressive if they want to compete in this series, but no level of aggression puts them in this game with the way Milwaukee played.
#5: Who takes things more personal?
In the big picture, this Milwaukee win felt like a team that lost in five games the year prior to this Miami Heat team. Not only did they play a lot better, they played like a team that had a chip on their shoulder. Now, the reason I posed the question about who will take it more personal, is due to it being Miami’s time to feel that way. The Heat players must go into game three on Thursday night playing like they just lost by 30 in game two. This Heat team loves to discuss the chips on their shoulders and playing for extra reasons, yet they have an even bigger chip on their shoulder after this game two domination. It’s hard to see Butler going out this way, even while he’s being blanketed every possession, which is why these two games back in Miami may come down to the mental battle.