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Milwaukee vs. Miami: Bucks Outclassed Again in Game Three

The Bucks lost to the better team.

NBA: Playoffs-Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What an absolutely sorry excuse for a basketball team the Bucks played like in the fourth quarter of the most important game of the season. From up 12 to handing the game right back to the Miami Heat, I am disgusted with how head coach Mike Budenholzer handed his rotations down the stretch. With Miami clearly gaining all control and momentum, let’s just keep Giannis on the bench! Great freaking strategy if you ask me. Khris Middleton was in foul trouble, but to let him ride the pine after the Heat jumped back in front is utterly inexcusable. You’d think since EVERYONE IN THE PLANET realizes this, that the head coach would too. I wish I understood the logic behind some of these decisions...or lack thereof.

Three Observations

Brook Lopez has played his ass of offensively all series and it is a shame it has gone to waste. The Bucks needed him to elevate his game offensively this postseason and he answered the call in every game they played this postseason. Brook was riding the wave early and ended up pouring in a team-high 22 points whole making three triples. Not to be redundant, but Brook has averaged nearly 17 points per game while making 37.5% of his threes. This is exactly what the Bucks needed from him against Miami...hate to see these games go to waste. My one complaint is how often I saw Lopez lose position against Bam Adebayo on the boards. Bam is one hell of a player, but Brook cannot let himself get manhandled. Due to Bam’s aggressiveness against him on the boards, it led to countless extra possessions for the Heat offensively. Bam just wanted it more.

The Bucks have had more than one year to prepare for this type of defensive scenario, yet nothing changed from last season’s loss in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Toronto Raptors. I fail to comprehend how one does not make adjustments, not only throughout the course of a regular season but in the playoffs. Head coach Mike Budenholzer has failed the Milwaukee Bucks. It feels like sabotage. There is a lot of blame to go around for the first three games of this series, but the coaching has been a huge eyesore. Erik Spoelstra has been running circles around Budenholzer all series. It’s been tough to watch.

Giannis Antetokounmpo needs to spend a full offseason learning a new go-to move in the half-court. I’m sorry, but the Heat played him off the floor and the Bucks were better with him on the bench at times. The thing that was most infuriating about his performance tonight was the ungodly amount of early shot clock three-pointers he attempted. I love that he has the confidence to hoist it up, but bad shots are essentially turnovers, especially in the postseason. There is zero need for Giannis to ever attempt seven threes in a game. Just baffling. In what could be the second to last game of the 2019-2020 season for the Greek Freak, he ended with 21 points, 16 rebounds, and nine assists while making 7-of-21 from the field. There were also multiple possessions defensively where he was lost and constantly leaving Heat three-point marksmen on the perimeter. The Heat successfully negated the league MVP. He has been Milwaukee’s third-best player this series which will never get it done. Giannis is a fiery player, but I just have not seen it from him this series and he has been playing like someone who doesn’t want to be there. I would love to see Giannis demand to be put in the game or get mad at his teammates and hold them accountable. Sigh.

Bonus Bucks

  • We already feared Eric Bledsoe was going to be a no-show for the playoffs, but his performance in game three was atrocious...which is putting it lightly. He played 30 minutes and finished shooting 2-of-9 from the field and a whopping minus-22. He could not do anything right. He was jacking up horrible three-pointers and getting lost defensively. He has been totally outclassed by Goran Dragic all series long. Too bad the Bucks don’t have better options.
  • Khris Middleton has been the Bucks best player this series, so hats off to him. He finished with 18 points and helped get the Bucks offense rolling early. When the Bucks needed a shot, Middleton was there. He has had to earn his buckets all series long as the Heat has played tremendous coverage on him. Like I said earlier, it is extremely disappointing to waste games where both Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez play well.
  • George Hill was aggressive in driving to the hoop in the fourth quarter after Miami had regained a once 12-point advantage. He was really the only one to get anything going offensively in the fourth. He finished with 13 points.