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Bucks vs. Heat Final Score: Bucks wilt beneath the Miami Heat 96-73

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Milwaukee manages only 11 points in the fourth quarter as Miami runs away with it late

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A night after making a spirited fourth quarter comeback against Atlanta, the Milwaukee Bucks wilted down the stretch as Miami prevailed 96-73. Plagued by early foul trouble, Giannis still mustered 14 points and seven rebounds albeit on 5-15 shooting. After a quick start, Jabari Parker shot only 5-20 for 11 points while Michael Beasley was a rare bright spot with with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Miami featured stellar performances by a couple of headcases, with Dion Waiters slapping 23 points on the Bucks and Whiteside adding 12 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks, most of that coming in the second half.

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Both Giannis and Whiteside were limited in the first half with foul trouble, but the teams still went into halftime tied. Milwaukee kept the game close throughout the third quarter, but their unseemly 33% shooting percentage caught up to them, as Miami pulled ahead in the fourth despite shooting only 7-30 from three on the night. Miami obliterated the Bucks in the paint in the second half, ultimately dominating them 54-34 in the category.

The game started with a bang even with Giannis Antetokounmpo leaving the game early with two fouls. Milwaukee flew out to an early 20-6 lead behind several Jabari Parker assaults on the hoop including this beaut:

Miami battled back, chipping away at the Bucks lead while some reserves got some run, including seven spectacularly disturbing Super Cool Beas minutes from Michael Beasley. The quarter ended with Milwaukee ahead 27-21 on only 33% shooting from Miami.

Miami came out blazing in the second, going on a 9-0 run to start. Giannis Antetokounmpo finally re-entered the game around the 10 minute mark, and Jabari Parker ended the Bucks’ shooting skid with a three-pointer. Tony Snell continued a hot shooting night, nailing two threes in the period en route to 12 points at the half. Giannis notched his first points with about four minutes left, finishing the half with a quiet seven. Dion Waiters starred for the Heat, whirling around Bucks defenders launching characteristically tough shots and knocking them down for 15 points. The teams went in tied at half 48-48.

Miami leaped out to a 62-54 lead about halfway through the third, as Milwaukee struggled to get any good looks on offense. The injection of Michael Beasley’s frenzied game didn’t help matters, with the offense plummeting to its nadir as Miles Plumlee pivoted his way to a shot clock violation. Alas, the woes continued as Giannis and co. remained relatively ineffective with Whiteside finally getting extended minutes. They battled back near the end of the quarter, with a late Jason Terry three cutting Miami’s lead to 67-62 before the fourth.

After last night’s successful run against Atlanta with a small lineup, Kidd opted for a different approach, going with Beasley, Teletovic, Brogdon, Henson and Terry. Milwaukee’s reserves actually kept it close, but a sequence midway through the quarter featuring a Richardson three, an emphatic Whiteside block on Giannis and subsequent Dragic three put Miami up 80-69 and effectively sealed the deal. Milwaukee never got any closer, and Miami ran away with it 96-73.

Tidbits:

  • Jim Paschke dropped this nugget pregame: In the Bucks five wins this season, they’ve been leading at halftime. In the Bucks five losses this year, they were losing at halftime. Tonight’s halftime score was 48-48, which meant...*computer explodes*
  • Tonight was the Heat’s 245th consecutive sellout. If tonight’s game was a sellout, then the Bradley Center is nearing its 29th year of consecutive sellouts.
  • Giannis continued to struggle from outside the restricted area. In his last seven games, he’s merely 4/34 (12%) from those areas. He didn’t make a perimeter shot tonight.
  • John Henson scored 12 points. That’s something!
  • Thon Maker came into the game and missed a shot! That’s a thing too!

Thoughts:

  • A great summation of tonight’s game courtesy of Jason Kidd:
  • Within three minutes Giannis received a silly foul guarding Derrick Williams on the perimeter and after bumping Dragic on a screen. Nothing new, but this team can’t afford to have Giannis taking himself off the floor.
  • Michael Beasley made an alarming array of poor decisions early on tonight. Blackjack Beasley is gonna bust more often than not, and disregarding the double-double, his overzealous attempts at the basket were particularly nauseating tonight. That being said, he was the Bucks only positive plus-minus on the night at plus-6!
  • Plumlee hasn’t had much chemistry with anyone this year, but there was a sequence in the second where he had a free run through the lane and Delly threw the pass slightly behind him before it flew out of bounds. Pretty indicative of his year thus far.
  • Greg Monroe only played seven minutes last night, and didn’t play at all tonight. There were no indications from Milwaukee that he wouldn’t appear. It felt particularly odd given the Bucks offensive woes and Hassan Whiteside’s limited minutes in the first half. Even in the second half, Monroe might’ve been Milwaukee’s best bet to get quick, cheap fouls on Whiteside. Hmm.
  • Hassan Whiteside clearly had an impact on the Bucks normally stout interior offense, but I was more impressed by Dion Waiters, who went pound for pound with Giannis and Jabari in the post. Denying them position over and over, I’d say he bested them more often than not.