Two point overtime wins aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing, wrought as they are with slow play and intense emotions, but for the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday’s 109-107 victory was as sweet as could be. They didn’t exactly prove that they’re world-beaters raring to go out of the playoff gates, but they did prove that they can beat the Miami Heat in a postseason game that has some heft (all due respect to our G4 win in a 3-0 series hole in the Bubble). Given the mix of emotions heading into last weekend, just showing that there is proof to the concept of besting Miami is enough.
There shouldn’t be a surge of confidence that a sweep is afoot, but the reason I’m feeling optimistic this morning is that the output by guys like Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday feel absolutely repeatable. Outside of Khris’s final basket, I’m not sure I’d say anything either did was out of the ordinary for them. Their consistency should help anchor this team when, say, Giannis is going through it. On top of that, it feels almost impossible for Milwaukee to average just 5 made threes across an entire series, so modest gains on top of the risen tide courtesy of Khris/Jrue should put us in a good position.
The trick, as usual, will be figuring out how to have Giannis Antetokounmpo figure it out. Miami is an intelligent squad who appear extra adept at swarming and making Giannis’s life hell, but some of his mistakes felt like products of a vicious cycle perpetuated by a game beyond his control. We’ve watched him master his physicality in critical ways this season, taking his foot off the gas at the right time and making the right unhurried read. All that went out the window in Saturday’s rock fight, and I’m not sure if it’ll readily come back. Maybe we’ll have enough juice to get by regardless of our superstar’s struggles, but it sure would be nice to see him crack the malaise in the big way we all know he’s capable of.
Can Jrue Holiday Succeed in the Playoffs Where Eric Bledsoe Failed? (The Analyst)
A very long, very in-depth look at all the ways that Jrue Holiday has ingratiated his unique combination of size and skill into the void left by Eric Bledsoe’s departure. His controlled approach to the game can be deceiving at times whether the deceived be us in the stands or the players matched up against him. There one second, gone the next, all while helping Milwaukee click.
Giannis Antentokounmpo And The Bucks Have Tweaked Their Offense To Be Better Prepared For The Playoffs (UPROXX)
And, from the same author (Jackson Frank, take a bow), we’ve got an equally long, equally in-depth breakdown at how Giannis’s place in the offense has morphed this year. It’s spotting the small details like the dribble hand-off screens springing a shooter free for an open three or Giannis’s partnership with Bryn Forbes’ inverted pick & rolls that make pieces like this a joy to read.
Are Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Defense Ready for the Playoffs? (The Ringer)
What’s that? MORE ANALYSIS? You’ve got it, this time from The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor who gives us another 12 minutes of film and analysis about just where the defense stands in these playoffs compared to the previous two seasons.
Heat-Bucks II: Sequel or Reboot? (Heat.com)
And, of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include this (also very lengthy... hope you have time to read this morning) piece from the enemy’s Ministry of Information. If you’re a glutton for punishment, they’ve got plenty of film from last year’s Bubble outing, a fact which will hopefully stop haunting us after this week.
Fan Post of the Week
First-time poster? You could’ve fooled me with RogerMurdock’s “Who you callin’ a freak?”, featuring a proposal as simple as it is entertaining: When a player scores more points than minutes played in a game, they’ve notched a “freak” (in honor of you know who). It’s an excellent stat quirk that definitely needs naming, and I encourage the amateur tracking of this stat from everyone heading forward.
Know Your Enemy
- Miami Heat - Hot Hot Hoops - Key takeaways and observations from Heat vs Bucks Game 1
Feels like both sides are coming to similar conclusions about a game that was sloppy for both sides. Depending on your rooting interest you could easily read an optimistic tale from the tea leaves that was game one. Hell, I did it to start this week’s MMMR!
The Social Media Section
The BH family got a little bigger last week. Congrats to the Carr family!
Baby boy Carr #2 is here and healthy. Mom is doing well too and is the the adventures of two under two begin! pic.twitter.com/Izz5NBQOEs— Kyle Carr (Openly vaxxed & Black) (@KyleCoche) May 21, 2021
If you want some BH audio content to go with your written content, Adam and I hoped on the mic in the immediate aftermath of G1 to listen to me struggle to pronounce “Dragic”
...ever wonder what a handbook written by Scott Skiles as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks would look like? (trust me, you’ll be rewarded by clicking this one)
@DanRShafer pic.twitter.com/j2ajHikBfo— Evan (@evanhatestwitr) May 22, 2021
Instagram links weren’t working this week. All I saw was Jrue slinging some power water endorsements and Donte posting pics of the old unis with the Harley Davidson logo in what I presume was a quiet protest against the new Motorola sponsorship.
Technically, this series could be over by the time we’re back here next week. That’d be ideal! To get there, we’ve got Game 2 tonight in Milwaukee, Game 3 on Thursday in Miami, and Game 4 Saturday in Miami. We’ve got one thing to be thankful for, at least: no matter how this week goes, Milwaukee’s season won’t be over when the next edition of the MMMR hits your virtual doorstep.