The Miami Heat came up short against the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime, with a score of 118-115. After Giannis Antetokounmpo went out with an injury, Khris Middleton stepped up and ultimately led the Bucks to a win. Here are five takeaways from the game…
#1: Giannis Antetokounmpo comes out the gate hungry, but ultimately goes out with injury.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was playing with a purpose out the gate, scoring 19 points in only 11 minutes. But eventually, stepped awkwardly on his injured right ankle, which put him out for the remainder of the game. This consequently fell on the supporting cast of the Milwaukee Bucks. As I’ve mentioned during the series, the only way for the Bucks to compete is if the rest of the team shows up. And after Giannis went out, George Hill and Eric Bledsoe stepped up to finish the second quarter, which put them up 2 at the half. Khris Middleton also stepped up for Milwaukee in the third quarter, scoring 21 in that stretch. He iced the game with a late three to put the game away.
#2: Jae Crowder doesn’t get enough credit for his elite shooting abilties.
Jae Crowder has clearly been a key piece for this Heat team all season, but especially in the bubble. First off, he deserves major credit for his ability to guard Giannis the whole series, which is a tough task in itself. He brings physicality on the defensive end on every possession, which further proves the fact that he’s a Miami Heat type player. And now to his offense. He has continued to be one of Miami’s most consistent and trusted offensive players in the postseason, especially with his shooting. Milwaukee is basically daring Jae to shoot threes for some reason, which definitely benefits Miami. And his on-court chemistry with Jimmy Butler has been clear in this series, since they constantly bounce off each other for offensive sparks.
#3: Miami’s bench unit struggles on the offensive end.
One of Miami’s biggest strengths and advantages this season has been their talented depth on the roster. Tyler Herro, Kelly Olynyk, Andre Iguodala, and others usually give Miami a huge offensive spark, but that wasn’t the case today. Miami’s bench scored 5 points in the first half, which ultimately led to Miami trailing by two at the half. What sets the Heat apart from others is that there is no drop off when their bench enters the game. With others, that’s not the case. But the problem is that if Miami’s bench doesn’t totally show up, they usually struggle. Today, their bench ended up scoring 17 points, with most coming from Tyler Herro at the end of the fourth quarter.
#4: Bam Adebayo is special. Very special.
It’s evident that Bam is the most impactful player on the floor at all times, due to all of the small things he does so well. He’s proved to be an absolute force throughout this whole series around the rim, but what everyone has been waiting for is his mid-range jump shot. And well, not only was he attempting these shots, he was making them. His confidence with the ball in his hands seems to be getting better and better. And with Giannis going out, this also opened up Miami’s offense for Bam inside. And once the defense began to key on him, this led to him utilizing his unique play-making ability, which is clearly his biggest strength. Bam’s ability to take over a game in so many ways was on full display today.
#5: Although a tough outcome, Miami’s in good shape.
The Miami Heat may have lost this game in a tough fashion, but it definitely wasn’t their best performance. Other than Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, and Jae Crowder’s good games, there’s wasn’t much contribution from anybody else on the offensive end. As mentioned before, Miami’s bench didn’t show up today, scoring fourteen points. And most importantly, Jimmy Butler wasn’t able to get in a rhythm with the ball in his hands. Although all of this seems problematic, Miami won’t have these scoring issues many times, which means their shouldn’t be much worry heading into game five. And there’s just not much you can do with a scorching hot Khris Middleton.