The streak is over. No longer can the Mike Budenholzer-era Bucks claim that they don’t lose twice to the same team in the same season, as the Milwaukee Bucks drop their second game the Miami Heat this year, 105-89.
The first quarter featured the patented defensive swarm that Miami uses to contain stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the officials allowed both teams to play with relatively relaxed definitions of “contact” and “fouls.” Miami went 5/8 on three pointers in the opening period, leading to a 31-26 deficit for the Bucks. Naturally, the FS Wisconsin broadcast called out that Miami holds the league’s top mark for accuracy on their home court (40.5% on the season), making it a tough start for Milwaukee.
The Bucks didn’t appear to suffer from the notorious (and undefeated) Miami night life, but they couldn’t find many easy looks to supply their offense. Thankfully, Donte DiVincenzo, George Hill, and Pat Connaughton were able to supply some energy off the bench in the second quarter, and their efforts kept the Heat’s lead from ballooning too large. The scorching shooting of Jae Crowder (5/7 on threes in the first half, by himself) was too much to get past early, as the Bucks carried a 1-point deficit to Miami, 53-52 at halftime.
The barrage didn’t stop from Miami, and Milwaukee had very little in stock to counter the Heat’s heat from outside. The Heat play a lot of zone defense, and the best way to beat a zone is to shoot your way out of it. The Bucks simply could not do that, and their first half grit abandoned them as the Miami lead grew to 81-70 by the start of the fourth quarter, and things just slid out of the Bucks’ grasp from there. Coach Bud put in the deep reserves with about 4 minutes left in the game, effectively waving the white flag and signaling retreat.
In general, Giannis (13 points on 18 shots, 15 rebounds) played as out of sorts as his stat line would suggest. Double ditto for Khris Middleton (12 points on 16 shots, 7 rebounds), who was often chasing Duncan Robinson around on defense. Brook Lopez (21 points, but on 16 shots) was more of an offensive anchor than usual, and the bench was led by Hill (12 points) and Donte (11 points).
For the Heat, Jae Crowder led the way for the reserves with 18 points, including 5 threes. Bam Adebayo (14 points, 12 boards, 5 assists) continued his stellar campaign, and Jimmy Butler (18 points, 7 assists, 6 boards) kept things steady. Kendrick Nunn (13 points, 8 rebounds) and Goran Dragic (15 points) contributed from the backcourt...and from below the belt.
He is now up and appears to be working some things out. I've been told the TV broadcast appears to show him taking a shot to the groin. https://t.co/yZmLS3iU3t— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) March 3, 2020
Stat That Stood Out
18-7. The Heat were dialed in and nailed nearly half (48.6%) of their threes. The Bucks were not and hit less than a quarter (20.6%) of theirs. Most notably, Giannis (0-4), Wes Matthews (0-4), and Khris (2-10) were generally miserable with their shots this evening, and the formula for defeating Milwaukee (make a bunch of shots while the Bucks miss theirs) was in full effect tonight, as the Bucks suffer one of their worst losses of the Giannis-Budenholzer era.