As the playoffs progress at a seemingly breakneck pace, we’re already into the second game of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks will seek equity against the Miami Heat, after dropping Game 1 in frustrating fashion, 115-104.
Ahh, Game 2 of a playoff series after getting dusted in the opening contest, a tale as old as...well, last year. The Bucks lost Game 1 to Boston in last year’s Conference Semifinals, and they lost Game 1 to Orlando a few weeks ago (before ripping off four straight to get to where we are today. Monday was very much a worst-case scenario for Milwaukee, as they were out-rebounded, out-defended, out-hustled, out-everythinged against the Heat. Wes Matthews had his hands full on defense, but he was inexplicably absent for the final 5 minutes of the contest, so while there’s no report of any injury issues, we’re hoping that he’s ready to go.
Bledsoe is still officially listed as questionable for Game 2. https://t.co/mXsMKvSWuG— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) September 1, 2020
Likewise, as of last night, Eric Bledsoe was still a question mark for this game with his lingering hamstring “awareness.” Missing Game 1 was a key weakness for the Bucks, since Bledsoe is the team’s best guard defender, ball-handler, and non-Giannis driver. Behind him, George Hill is a capable backup and occasional closer, but Donte DiVincenzo and Pat Connaughton are simply not on his level against playoff competition. Hopefully he’s back in action sooner rather than later.
Player to Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis (inadvertently) made waves when asked about whether or not he would cover Jimmy Butler next time around, but the overall sentiment is that the NBA MVP was not the best player on the floor in Game 1, and it’s up to him to restore the natural order, with him atop the list. And if that’s not enough motivation, do it for this little fella:
Young Freak. pic.twitter.com/dpDXeMjgr7— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) September 1, 2020
Jimmy Butler had himself a 40-piece meal and dominated Game 1 in every way. Right behind him was Goran Dragic, who was probably the most glaring reason to miss Eric Bledsoe. Everything is coming up Miami right now, so much so that their fans are openly theorizing on Giannis pulling a Kevin Durant and taking his talents to South Beach at the earliest opportunity. Even Pat Riley is getting in on the bubble festivities.
Happy to see a familiar face in the crowd tonight.#InRileyWeTrust | #HEATCulture pic.twitter.com/znj8ga7DAb— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) September 1, 2020
Player to Watch: Duncan Robinson
Milwaukee is going to be tasked with re-establishing themselves as proprietors of the paint, which they failed to do in Game 1. As a partial consequence, the Heat feasted inside while keeping Milwaukee on the perimeter, but sophomore shooting sensation Robinson was largely held in check. Taking 4 shots, scoring 4 points, and committing 4 fouls, the Bucks defense did not let Robinson get warmed up, but as they return their attention to Butler, Bam Adebayo, and the rest of the Heat, it’s worth watching to see if this Miami marksman gets dialed in as a result.
Game 2: Against Miami, the Bucks will...
This poll is closed
Win big (by 10 or more points)
Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
Lose big (by 10 or more points)