After a competitive first quarter in which the Heat knocked down five of their first nine shots from beyond the arc, the Bucks clamped down on their defense and overpowered them on the other end of the court as they gradually upped their lead significantly in the third quarter to effectively put the game away. Miami scored 32 points in the first quarter but only scored 55 the rest of the way, scoring no more than 19 points in any of the subsequent quarters. For the night, the team shot 37.6% from the field, with just 29.7% from 3-point territory.
Giannis Antetokounmpo came back from a two-game absence to lead the Bucks with 27 points, seven assists and eight rebounds. Right from the start he was unstoppable and scored at will against Bam Adebayo. He scored 11 first quarter points and was up to 20 just five minutes into the second quarter. Fellow All-Star Khris Middleton came close to a triple-double with 18 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Milwaukee would have their first double-digit lead with five minutes left in the second quarter but Miami didn’t have any players stepping up on offense against a very tough defense to keep up. There was a point in the third quarter where the Heat were within striking distance and a solid run would have put them right back in the game in the final quarter, but it was the Bucks who instead went on a big run to turn the game into an easy rout.
The starters didn’t get the job done but without strong performances from Dwyane Wade and especially Goran Dragic, who missed all nine of his shots in 22 forgettable minutes, it wasn’t going to be nearly enough against an elite team. Hassan Whiteside came off the bench to lead the team with (only) 14 points but coach Erik Spoelstra mixed and matched but nothing could turn the tide in their favor.
If the Heat want to even have a chance of facing the Bucks as an eighth seed, they’ll need to put this loss behind them immediately as they’ll wrap up their road trip tomorrow night against the Washington Wizards.