The Milwaukee Bucks looked dead in the water early versus the Heat and found themselves trailing by 20 points at halftime. However, the resilient Bucks mounted a furious rally in the second half, punctuated by outscoring Miami 37-18 in the third quarter. For reference, all-time, Milwaukee was 0-77 when trailing by 20 or more on the road prior to last night. Yeah, this team is just built different. Without the efforts of these Bucks, the comeback would not have been possible. And the elite coaching, too.
There simply are no words to describe Giannis Antetokounmpo.
With the Bucks stacked against a huge deficit coming out of halftime, Giannis decided to flip the switch and takeover. He amassed 33 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and three blocked shots in 35 minutes. Antetokounmpo converted on 12-of-19 shots, and like every other team in the NBA, all the Heat could do was pray. He muscled his way to the paint, shedding multiple Heat defenders to score “easy” buckets while finishing through contact. Even though he turned the ball over six times, his playmaking in the second half more than made up for it. The over-the-shoulder dime late in the fourth quarter all but summarized his dominance in the second half. We are not worthy.
Like I said earlier, this is where my head went on that over-the-shoulder pass from Giannis tonight. pic.twitter.com/dSvsdgyXbl— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) March 16, 2019
Khris Middleton helped keep the Bucks’ head above water.
While the beginning of this game looked like a repeat of their December 22nd matchup, he helped prevent this game from getting even uglier. He rattled off a quick eight points in the third quarter which helped the Bucks get the deficit within single digits, and had an answer for every Heat bucket. In 32 minutes, he made 8-of-16 shots to total 21 points, five rebounds, eight assists, and one steal. The points did not come easy, as Miami was very physical with him defensively from the onset. Now for the season, he’s averaging 17.5 points, six rebounds, 4.3 assists, and one steal per game. Despite what some would call erratic shooting, he’s still sinking 37.7 percent of his three-pointers. Last night was a perfect example of just how valuable he is to this Bucks team. He’s tough.
Was that a Greg-Monroe-esque AND-OOOOOONE yell from Khris Middleton I heard?— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) March 16, 2019
Ersan Ilyasova has risen.
He’s been very consistent on both ends of the floor during the second half of the season, and poured in 15 points off the bench last night. Ersan canned 5-of-9 shots from the field and 3-of-5 tries from deep. He’s come a long way since breaking his nose a few months ago and it looks like it’s safe to say that he is back. He played 21 minutes, and head coach Mike Budenholzer continues to show a ton of trust in his Turkish stretch forward. It’s very difficult not to be pleased with how he’s been shooting the ball in recent weeks, and he’ll be an important piece for the Bucks off the bench in the postseason.
- Eric Bledsoe scored 17 points versus Miami on 6-of-12 shooting. He did the majority of his damage in the paint while weaving his way through multiple defenders. His muscles have muscles.
- D.J. WILSON!!!! He played only nine minutes and scored four points, but he finished plus-11. He impacted the game from the second he stepped on the floor not only with his defense but some savvy passing as well.
- Pat Connaughton scored 13 points and hauled in six rebounds for Milwaukee off the bench. Despite the shooting struggles this season, he’s still impacting the game in a positive way and that’s basically all you can ask for.
- Brook Lopez and Nikola Mirotic were extremely quiet versus the Heat, combining for 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting. The Bucks still won and erased a 22-point deficit.
- Malcolm Brogdon missed the majority of the game with heel soreness.
- The Bucks shot 47.7 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from deep.