Five Takeaways from Heat’s Series Clinching Win Over Bucks

With a 3-1 lead, the Heat headed right into Milwaukee for the potential closeout game.

Another Jimmy Butler/Heat comeback late in the fourth led to a wild finish.

Heat head to the second round…

Some takeaways…

#1: The early pull-up shooting from the PG crew: Gabe Vincent and Kyle Lowry.

Well, when it comes to the need for Jimmy Butler to get some help, it starts with pull-up shooting. Against this defense, a couple pull-ups can shift the profile for everyone. And well, Gabe Vincent and Kyle Lowry did that. On one hand you could point out Vincent having a higher usage and more shot attempts than Jimmy Butler at half, but he had 16 points on 50% shooting up to that point. It wasn’t even three point shooting dominance, it was finding gaps in those mid-range jumper pull-ups. As he exited and Kyle Lowry entered, he played a very similar game except he did it from beyond the arc. That put Miami in a pretty decent position offensively aside from the Butler bursts.

#2: The free throw shooting disparity.

24 to 8. That was the free throw shooting disparity at half between the Bucks and Heat, as Milwaukee tripled them up to that point. Luckily for Miami, the Bucks only knocked down 63% of those, but man was that whistle blowing often when it came to the attacks from the Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo flying down the lane is as tough of a spot to be in when it comes to being a defender on the Miami Heat. Even if he initiates contact, it’s tough to recover as the foul is already in the process of being called. This isn’t even a moment of referee complaining, it’s recognizing Miami’s position as they fight to find a defensive structure that works. It pretty much looked like this in simple terms: no Bam means double, Bam means allow single coverage. All jokes aside, it felt like a win for Miami to survive that disparity and walk into half with only a 6 point deficit.

#3: Bam Adebayo tough times continue, but shows up when it matters…

There’s no doubt in my mind that Bam Adebayo is slightly injured at the moment. His bottom half seems to restrict him at times for total burst, but with that I add: those limitations aren’t an excuse for his recent play. No Tyler Herro meant he would be the clear cut secondary offensive option in this series. Yet it hasn’t felt like a trusted source. A 1 for 7 shooting first half sums it up decently well, but he just continues to get great looks inside the lane. Short jumpers, timely drives to the basket. He just can’t seem to connect right now. I think we’re also past the point of the reasoning being the need for actions being run for him. The shots just need to fall. And that’s what happened late in the fourth into OT on his way to a triple double. The passing and defense was loud and needed, before he fouled out late in OT.

#4: Third quarter: hot shooting from Bucks, cold perimeter defense from Heat.

It took until the third quarter before I found a game 2 theme, when they were in this building last. They matched energy and shot making early, but I kept saying they needed to find a way to slow it down or muck things up, because once the water shuts off for a stretch, it could get dicey. And well, the Bucks made that run late in the third as the Heat’s half court offense hit a wall. But the bigger key about that run was the Heat’s perimeter defense was mirroring game 2. The shooting was just tough to deal with from deep at that point from Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, but man Miami wasn’t making it any easier on themselves. You know what I sensed at that point: fatigue. The defense began to look lazier and much more tired with much of the close-outs, and yeah, that’s just a tough thing to fight against.

#5: Late-game madness…

102-86. The Bucks late 3rd quarter push felt like just the beginning as they took over the energy and flow. Yet with Jimmy Butler taking a breather, the Heat made the push. Adebayo still struggling to find his shot gets a tough left handed hook to drop, leading into a Love three off the kick. 8:30 to go, and Miami has cut it to 8. Spoelstra tried to get away with giving Butler some extra time of rest, but it felt like they squeezed as much as they could out of that five. Butler entered, and a Jrue Holiday step back 3 later it’s a double digit lead again. For the next few minutes, the odd part about the Heat’s defense was the placement of Butler. A lot of off-ball corner sitting with others running the offense. But then the 5 minute mark hit. He knocks down a pull-up elbow jumper, Strus get a block at the rim on the other end, and Heat finish the stretch with a Bam-Butler high/low action for the Butler finish. 5 point game. With the flow shifting now, they send Love off the screen for the three, but it’s off the mark. On the other end, Matthews knocks down a similar look, pushing the lead to 8 for a major swing. The Heat’s response: high-low from Bam to Jimmy for floater, high-low from Bam to Jimmy for layup and-1, Butler three. What a run. Antetokounmpo answers with an and-1 layup, as Bam Adebayo comes back with the jumper. Tie game. Middleton was fouled and sent to the line with under 30 seconds left, as they take a 2 point lead. Timeout. Butler and the Heat go for the kill yet again, as a right wing triple is the look for Butler, but it’s off the mark. Two Bucks free throws and they’re down 4. Heat inbound quickly and a Vincent pull-up triple cuts it to 1. Bucks throw it in, ball was loose, Lowry and Middleton fight for it, and a foul was called. Heat challenge, was successful, and ends in a jump ball at mid-court. Holiday gets fouled, knocks down 1 of 2, and Heat trail by 2 with 2 seconds left. Wild inbound play sends Butler to the rim, Vincent lobs, Butler finishes while falling to send to OT. Insane. Some more Butler madness continued with tough buckets, as the Heat have a 5 point lead with 2 minutes left in OT. Miami takes control late with a foul on a Strus three, as the Heat head to the second round…

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