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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat Game 5 Preview: One Down, Three To Go

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Three more wins stand between the Bucks and basketball history. No pressure.

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

Well, we might as well make history, right?

Game 1 was an embarrassment. Game 2 was a heartbreaker. Game 3 was a stunning collapse. Game 4 was a bittersweet thrill. This series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat has been anything but boring, and the Bucks need to keep it that way to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Bucks Update

Everything starts and ends with the status of Giannis Antetokounmpo. After tweaking his ankle in Game 3 and very obviously dealing with some discomfort, he nevertheless suited up for Game 4 and gave it his all in the first half, until suffering a nasty-looking re-injury that took him out for the remainder of the game. If it were up to him, Giannis would start Game 5 and adhere to no minutes restrictions. For his benefit, it’s not just up to him:

For now, Giannis is listed as questionable, as are the Bucks’ hopes to do the impossible: coming back from a 3-0 series deficit against a motivated opponent.

Player to Watch: Brook Lopez

Khris Middleton got in the spotlight for his Game 4 heroics, and Eric Bledsoe and George Hill certainly deserve their share of attention, but Game 5 is going to be made or unmade by how much of the load Splash Mountain can shoulder. Fortunately, he’s been a positive force for Milwaukee in this series, averaging 19.0 points on 0.562/0.480/0.857 shooting splits. He’s had his challenges on defense (particularly with the patience of Goran Dragic, somehow outlasting even Brook’s own patience), but with Giannis’ status in doubt and Brook’s size advantage, a Game 5 win might require his active involvement on offense.

Heat Update

They’re still favored to win the series, but they may be at their most vulnerable point yet. Jae Crowder (ankle), Tyler Herro (hip), and Kelly Olynyk (knee) are all listed as questionable, and they are three of the Heat’s role players that have given the Bucks fits at different points. Crowder in particular has been an anathema for Milwaukee, hitting 18 of his 42 attempts from long distance (42.8%, over eight points higher than his career average of 34.0%).

Player to Watch: Jimmy Butler

Jimmy G. Buckets knows that the Heat let their foot off of the gas in Game 4, and of all the players in the league, he might be among the least likely to let his teammates forget it. Have we forgotten what happened in Minnesota?



Poll

Game 5: Against Miami, the Bucks will...

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (48 votes)
  • 37%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (94 votes)
  • 21%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (54 votes)
  • 20%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (52 votes)
248 votes total Vote Now