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Milwaukee vs. Miami: Bucks Flex Their Muscles Against Heat

Potential playoff preview?!

NBA: Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

It feels like it’s been ages since the last extended recap I have published. I am happy that it comes on the heels of the Milwaukee Bucks 122-108 home victory against their conference foe in the Miami Heat.

Three Observations

Bryn Forbes is going to help the Bucks win playoff games. It seems simple, but having Forbes at their disposal off the bench is a HUGE upgrade compared to Kyle Korver who got playoff minutes last season in the bubble. In 20 minutes, he knocked down 7-of-9 shots (five threes) to total 21 points. His release is so fast and smooth that it is nearly impossible for opposing defenses to defend. While Forbes is not the most adequate defender, his effort on that end more than makes up for his lack of size and length. Bryn is a microwave scorer that every team needs off the bench, specifically for the playoffs. Now, I am in no way expecting him to score 20 points in a postseason effort, but his ability to light up the scoreboard in a hurry will force opposing defenses to stay close to him at all times. He has been a key cog offensively for the Bucks all season and is now shooting 44.5% from downtown. The pairing of him and Bobby Portis off the bench has opened up a plethora of options offensively for Milwaukee, and without the two, it is safe to assume their offense would not be as potent as it has been this season.

Seeing Brook Lopez play well versus the Heat was encouraging. We all remember how the Heat and Bam Adebayo exposed him defensively in the postseason last year, and the Bucks are going to need this sort of effort from the big man if they hope to make a deep post-season run. This goes further than just a matchup against the Heat, he needs to play well against every opponent. Lopez poured in 18 points on 9-of-10 shooting in 27 minutes while hauling in six rebounds. I enjoyed watching how Milwaukee utilized him as a roll man as he dashed his way towards the rim and got open for tip-ins. In fact, he did not attempt a three and it was a refreshing sight. We are all are of his prowess to stretch the floor, but seeing him work in the paint is even more fun to watch! He won the matchup against Adebayo tonight handily, to say the least. However, the way the Bucks have been able to find him in a mismatch offensively is a very positive development as the postseason nears. I will drink to that!

Bucks fans...don’t be afraid! I understand there are some hesitant about the Bucks playing the Miami Heat in the playoffs. I for one, am not one of those fans fear-mongering the’s why. It is a completely different environment from the bubble and we have seen how Tyler Herro has fallen off since his fluke bubble performance. Losing Jae Crowder for Trevor Ariza is a significant downgrade and I am not sure relying on Kendrick Nunn to chase buckets in the playoffs is a good idea. I know, Jimmy Butler is a two-way star, but I just can’t see them besting the Bucks this year. The addition of Jrue Holiday makes me that much more confident the Bucks will dismantle Miami in the playoffs. Remember last year when Eric Bledsoe was getting torched by Goran Dragic? That won’t happen with Holiday on the roster. Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t have to force things as well and the addition of the dunker spot to the offense makes Milwaukee that much more deadly. I am sorry, but you can’t think the Bucks are title contenders and be afraid of Miami at the same time.

Bonus Bits

  • I was a fan of the catch-and-shoot three-point attempts by Giannis Antetokounmpo last night. Although he made only 1-of-3 tries, seeing him let it fly while looking like a shooter made me happy. In all, he ended the victory with 15/9/4 while finishing plus-19. I am nearly positive Giannis would welcome a playoff showdown with the Heat.
  • Give Bobby Portis all of the money. He dropped 14 in 19 minutes and proved to be an x-factor once again with his can’t lose, won’t lose attitude. Up 20 or down 20, Portis will always break out the mean mug and he is what the Bucks have desperately been missing the last few seasons. Having an enforcer like him on the Bucks roster will be beneficial in the postseason and I am excited to see how he performs when his number is called. Like I stated earlier, Portis has been one of the best offseason signings in Bucks history.
  • Khris Middleton dropped an efficient 21/7/7 on 8-of-12 shooting. Granted, being down Jimmy Butler helped open up some looks for him, but I am not complaining. What I have noticed in prior games is how Middleton has been able to shake off rough shooting starts. There is no excuse for him not to shoot the basketball, even if he starts 1-of-7.
  • Jrue Holiday is the ultimate gamer. 20 points, 10 assists, and only one turnover in 34 minutes of play * swoons *
  • It is only fitting that the Milwaukee Bucks win a ring for Jim Paschke...unfortunately, we will be stuck listening to Steve Novak call basketball games for the immediate future. Not great!