Wow. My eardrums are still bleeding. Fueled by lockdown defense down the stretch, the Bucks came back to knock off the Miami Heat, 120-119.
The Bucks would start this one off strong, connecting on seven of their first eleven shots from the field, including going 5-of-7 from deep. That’d do a great job of creating separation between them and the Heat. A buzzer-beater shot from Giannis would put the Bucks up by eight going into the second quarter.
It’d be a fun battle starting to brew once the second started. Both teams were trading baskets and bodies were flying on the floor. Duncan Robinson would start to light it up from deep, which gave Miami the slight edge going into intermission, 66-64.
Gabe Vincent (a great first name, if I do say so myself) would start the third on a tear of his own, knocking down a trio of threes that forced the Bucks to call a timeout. However, the Bucks would answer with a 14-2 run of their own, bringing things back to even. Going into the final quarter of regulation, Milwaukee would hold a slim lead, 97-93.
For nearly the entire fourth quarter, the Heat would be up — and it seemed like they would once the final buzzer sounded. But regardless of what was in front of them, the Bucks never gave up. It’d get to the point where down one, they had a chance to win the game — and Jrue Holiday delivered with a shot off the glass, giving the Bucks the 120-119 victory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo led the effort for Milwaukee, finishing with 28 points and 17 boards. Khris Middleton concluded his night with 26 points and Jrue Holiday topped off at 25 points, including the game-winner.
Tyler Herro led the Heat with a game-high 30 points.
The defense down the stretch was incredible.
Here’s a stat for you. In the final 7:12 of action, the Heat scored just six points. That’s incredible. It’s not as if the Bucks’ defense was non-existent all evening. They were contesting shots all night long, but Miami was just hitting on nearly all of them. Despite that, Milwaukee never faltered and instead, forced turnovers on multiple possessions late. They were also on the ground late, which was huge, as Giannis won a jump ball to give the Bucks chance to win this ballgame. The defense showed up when it was needed. Here’s what Bud had to say:
Milwaukee's defense down the stretch won them this game. Bud praised their efforts in his postgame presser: pic.twitter.com/FdAkGEeJWN— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) March 3, 2022
That defense? It locked down Jimmy Butler.
We all know how Jimmy Butler terrorized the Bucks two years ago down in the bubble. Last night, that was not the case. He’d finish with just six points on 2-of-14 shooting, which culminated in a -21 RPM. How incredible was Milwaukee’s defense on him? He scored zero points in the final 36:19. Bud mentioned how they were able to limit his free throw attempts, which stood at just two when the final whistle blew. Just an incredible effort all around on him. Here’s what Jrue had to say regarding the effort on Butler:
“I feel like we just crowded him and made it difficult for him. We know he’s a strong player. He likes to play in the paint. We know that he loves the mid-range shot. We really just tried to frustrate him. I know he got some offensive rebounds, we tried to keep him off the offensive boards. We just really tried to make hard on him.”
Miami’s shooting was outrageous.
All night long, the Heat were connecting on buckets. They shot a preposterous 47.7% from deep (21-of-44). It wasn’t as if the Bucks weren’t defending well either. For nearly all of Miami’s shot attempts, there was a hand in their face. It says a lot that despite the hot shooting from Miami, Milwaukee was able to weather the storm and pull off the comeback. It’s extremely difficult to win a game when the opponent is shooting the ball that well from beyond the perimeter.
Bonus Bucks Bits
- For those wondering what it was like in Fiserv Forum, here you go:
- Those Heat uniforms aren’t doing it for me. A bunch of letters pieced together like a ransom note? I’m not a fan.
- PJ Tucker still brings the energy. I watched him pre-game getting shots up and even then, he was yelling at himself for misses. He’s definitely an entertaining player to watch.
- That third quarter was something. Initially, it looked like it was shaping up to be another problematic period for Milwaukee, as the Heat turned the jets on and ripped off an 11-2 run. However, the Bucks immediately answered and developed a 14-2 run of their own.
- I’m still buzzing from that atmosphere. It has me excited for not just playoff basketball, but March Madness, which will be at Fiserv Forum this year. Fingers crossed the Badgers get seeded in Milwaukee!