Well, that’s that. The Milwaukee Bucks’ season came to an end last night, as the Miami Heat sent them out of the bubble with a 103-94 victory.
The Bucks would come out swinging and looking like a force. Strong play from Khris Middleton and Donte DiVincenzo paced the Bucks to a double-digit lead midway through the opening period. Without Giannis, they didn’t seem to miss a beat. A Goran Dragic jumper as the horn sounded sliced Milwaukee’s lead to single digits headed into the second quarter, 28-19.
After being down by as many as 13, it wouldn’t take long for Miami to rebound and get back into the mix. Just three minutes into the second quarter, they’d tie things up and eliminate much of the momentum that the Bucks had worked so hard to conjure. At halftime, the Heat would come from behind and build a 52-46 advantage.
A cold spell in the third quarter would really make it difficult for the Bucks to get over the hump in the third. They’d flirt with the lead every now and then and be provided multiple opportunities to take it, but could never take advantage. A Pat Connaughton 3-pointer would finally break the drought, giving Milwaukee their first points in six minutes. Heading into the final quarter of regulation, Miami held onto an eight point lead, 73-65.
Despite the Heat turning the basketball over on multiple possessions in the fourth, Milwaukee had trouble mustering enough momentum to overtake the lead. However, the Bucks would slice it down to four points, but a jumper by Goran Dragic proved to be a dagger and made it too difficult for the Bucks to overcome. The Bucks’ season would come to an end in the bubble and Miami advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals with a 103-94 victory.
Khris Middleton led the Giannis-less Bucks with 23 points on 8-of-25 shooting. Donte DiVincenzo was next in line with 17 points.
Jimmy Butler was the lead man for the Heat, concluding his night with 17 points. Tyler Herro also mixed in 14 off the bench.
Eric Bledsoe continued to struggle.
It was another tough outing for Eric Bledsoe. He’d be granted more opportunities, especially with Giannis out, but continued to be unable to take advantage. His shot remained cold, no matter where he was getting looks or if they were open. He’d also struggle from the free throw line, which was really demoralizing to this Bucks squad. It really is frustrating that for whatever reason, he’s unable to put together a consistent playoff series. We all know that the talent is there. However, it remains unable to be fully put together. It really does make you wonder what his future will be moving forward with Milwaukee.
Wes Matthews was everywhere.
This was easily Wes’ best game of the series. Offense, defense, and everywhere in between — he was a force to be dealt with. At one point, he’d sprint back down the court onto defense and block Crowder’s 3-point attempt at the wing. In a game that was gritty and featured an endless amount of mini scuffles after every loose ball, Matthews was the guy leading it all for the Bucks. Reggie Miller and Kevin Harlan even mentioned how neither of them had ever seen Matthews talk that much trash before. It was great to see Matthews put out that type of emotion. However, it was extremely weird as to why he was MIA during the fourth...
The scoring droughts proved to be too much for the Bucks.
It’s something that we saw too many times down in the bubble — Milwaukee’s offense sputtering to a halt. Unfortunately, it happened again last night, and it greatly mitigated the Bucks’ opportunity to overcome the deficit between them and the Heat. They’d get stops on one end but were just unable to convert on the other. All in all, it was really a microcosm of the time in the bubble. They just didn’t exhibit the same firepower that they did during the regular season, and it eventually caught up to them.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- At times, it seemed that Brook was staying out on the perimeter too long. He was being effective down low, but stayed floating around outside. It felt like that disrupted the Bucks’ offensive flow, and it didn’t help that he didn’t hit a single 3PA (he was 0-for-3 on the evening).
- Donte DiVincenzo had a strong start in this one. However, it was unfortunately too late. The way I look at it, Tyler Herro’s performance for the Heat was what we as Bucks fans were expecting from Donte. Unfortunately, things didn’t really come to fruition.
- Miami’s bench absolutely dismantled the Bucks, 38-19. Tyler Herro was the main spark plug with 14 points off the bench. It was clear the type of intensity he not only brought to Game 5, but the entire series.
- Obviously, lots of questions remain heading into the offseason. Will Bud remain head coach? Will Eric Bledsoe remain on the roster? We have a lot of unknowns laying ahead.
- And last friends, I leave you with this. Until next year.