Jimmy Butler sat out the game with lower back tightness and Bam Adebayo was ineffective with just five points on 2-9 shooting, breaking a personal 56-game streak reaching double-figure points. Coupled with hot shooting from Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (20 points and 10 assists) and big man Brook Lopez (18 points, 9-10 FG shooting) against a Heat defense that allowed 44 points in the first quarter and 70 points in the first half, and it was apparent early on that this was going to be a long night for Miami.
Khris Middleton and Bryn Forbes each scored 21 points for the Bucks, who didn’t even need Giannis Antetokounmpo (15 points, just six in the first half) to be dominant to cruise to an easy win at home. All five starters finished in double figures along with Forbes and Bobby Portis (15 points) off the bench.
Miami’s defense had helped propel them to 11 wins in their last 14 games, but they allowed the Bucks to shoot 65% in the first half and 53.5% for the game.
The only bright spot for the Heat was Kendrick Nunn, who scored a season-high 31 points on 13-18 shooting. Only Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic, who each scored 17 points, acquitted themselves on offense tonight.
The two teams could meet in the first round of the playoffs, though with the victory the Bucks still hold a slim chance of reaching the No. 2 seed if they beat the Chicago Bulls tomorrow and the Brooklyn Nets lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Miami could move up to the fifth seed with a win against the Houston Rockets and a New York Knicks loss to the Boston Celtics.