At the beginning of the second round of the NBA playoffs, all the focus was on the three top matchups. No one would have expected the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks led by MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and All Star Khris Middleton to be beat by the fifth-seeded Miami Heat led by All Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Butler scored 40 points while making 13 of his 20 shots and 12 of his 13 free throws. He was joined by Goran Dragic who chipped in 27 points and Adebayo who despite scoring just 12 points played a good defense grabbing 17 rebounds and two steals.
The Bucks star Antetokounmpo struggled, scoring just 18 points even though he averaged just under 30 during the regular season. Middleton led the Bucks in scoring with 28 and the Bucks center Brook Lopez chipped in 24 points but grabbed just 1 rebound. The Bucks got out to a strong lead in the fourth quarter scoring 40 points to the Heats 29 points but managed to score just 64 points over the next three quarters resulting in a Miami comeback win.
It was the Heat’s turn to start the game strong, out scoring the Bucks 38-29. The Bucks slowly took back the lead and were down four points going into the fourth quarter. With 7.7 seconds left on the clock, Middleton was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws tying the game at 114. With no time on the clock, Butler was fouled and got to shoot two free throws. Butler sank the two free throws and was able to give his team the 116-114 victory.
For the Heat, Dragic led them in scoring with 23 with Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson combined making 10 3-pointers that allowed them to win the game. For the Bucks, Antetokounmpo scored 29 points as well as grabbing 14 rebounds. Middleton also scored 23 points and made eight assists. In the following game, the Bucks led most of the game until the fourth quarter. Going into the final quarter the Bucks had a 12-point lead and were getting back into the series. Then the Bucks were outscored 40-13 in the fourth quarter and went from winning by 12 to losing by 15 and fell 3-0 in the series to the Heat.
For the heat it was again Butler leading the way, scoring 30 points and Adabayo chipped in 20 points as well as contributing on the defensive end grabbing 16 rebounds and two blocks. Jamison Crowder also scored 17 points including five 3 pointers. For the Bucks, Brook Lopez led the team in scoring with 22, Giannis had 21 points and 16 rebounds but made just seven of his 21 shots and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.
This was another close game, and it seemed like the Bucks might be back in the series at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Antetokounmpo went down with an injury but that didn’t matter as Middleton was able to rally the team behind his 36 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and although Antetokounmpo played just 11 minutes, he was still able to score 19 points.
For the Heat, Butler struggled scoring just 17 points while making 6 of his 15 shot attempts, but Adebayo had a great game scoring 26 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Robinson also chipped in 20 points including six 3 pointers.
This was the decisive game in the series as the Bucks did not have Antetokounmpo. Both teams shot poorly but it ended up being the players on the Heat’s bench that allowed them to win the game and series. Butler and Dragic lead the Heat in scoring with 17 each. Crowder also chipped in 16 and Herro scored 14 off the bench including three 3 pointers. For the Bucks, Middleton led the way with 23 points and Donte DiVincenzo chipped in for 17 points. After their Game 5 victory, the Heat will move on to play in the eastern conference finals against the Boston Celtics.