The Milwaukee Bucks concluded their In-Season Tournament group play with a 131-124 win over the Miami Heat in South Beach. With the win, the Bucks have won Group B and will finish as a top-two team in the Eastern Conference pool and head to the knockout round.
After getting off to a rough start against the Trail Blazers on Sunday, the Bucks started much better against the Heat as they began the game up 12-2. Milwaukee’s offense was clicking, but after a timeout from Erik Spoelstra Miami’s defense got after it, forcing the Bucks to go 3-for-11 from the field and get the game within one, 19-18. The Bucks turned it around to end the quarter up 31-22. Heat rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. exploded in the second quarter, starting it by scoring eight points and dishing out two assists to give them their first lead of the night, 44-41 with 6:10 left. The two rivals went back and forth for the rest of the half, but Miami was able to hold onto a three-point lead heading into the locker room, thanks to a Kyle Lowry jumper, 62-59.
The Bucks got the second half off on the right foot as they outscored the Heat 11-8 to get the game back tied at 70 with 6:03 in the third quarter. The game remained tied at 86 with 3:13 left in the stanza, but an 11-7 Heat run propelled them ahead by four heading into the fourth quarter 97-93. The two teams went Miami kept keeping up with the Bucks stride for stride down the stretch, never letting Milwaukee get a lead larger than five points. The Heat were even able to bring it down to two points with 1:05 left but ran out of gas as the Bucks scored seven of the final nine points to take home the win.
Stat That Stood Out
In such a close game, it comes down to the smallest details to find who won. In this one, it was the free throw shooting as the Bucks went 24-for-27 from the free throw line, while the Heat went 14-for-21. All three misses came from Giannis, who still went 10-for-13 (76.9%) from the charity stripe.