Heat upset Bucks in OT, win 128-126 to close out series
After an amazing comeback in the fourth, the Heat were tenacious in overtime upsetting the top-seeded Bucks in spectacular fashion.
As expected, the Bucks asserted themselves immediately, with Giannis slamming one home to set the tone. Still, Milwaukee didn’t pull away early instead we were treated to a back and forth battle with Kevin Love, Gabe Vincent, Bam and of course Jimmy Butler all getting on the board. The most notable thing early, however was that Jimmy wasn’t doing it solo - every Heat player contributed offensively to keep the game uncomfortably close and eventually Miami took a six point lead. The Heat once again excelled shooting from the long mid range, and continued its phenomenal three point shooting (50% in the first quarter). Also, Miami wasn’t barren defensively either forcing turnovers and keeping Milwaukee from scoring at the rim.
Heat fans were treated to a welcome sight early as Jimmy got hot with 9+ first quarter points, still on the other end it was Khris Middleton who caused major issues for Miami with 17 first quarter points of his own. But with the instant offense of Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson, Miami was able to take a three point lead into the second quarter off a very strong start.
It was Giannis who got going in the second quarter to get the Bucks back within striking distance, but excellent offense from Martin, Bam, and Lowry kept the Heat ahead - just barely. Lowry looked fantastic, driving to the rim fearlessly and with no indication of lingering knee pain - unfortunately his physicality on defense would get him in foul trouble. As things got increasingly more chippy (see UD getting a tech from the bench), Milwaukee spent a lot of time at free throw line getting them within striking distance.
Couple that with an 11-2 run led by Lopez and Connaughton and suddenly the Bucks were ahead by five. The free throw disparity was striking with the Bucks shooting 23 to Miami’s 8. Without Jimmy taking on the complete scoring load, it was Gabe Vincent who kept Miami afloat - so even with the Bucks surging, Miami found itself down only six headed into the second half.
The Heat stole back the lead off strong play from Adebayo and Vincent to start, starting a renewed the back and forth battle. It helped that Jimmy also got it going again hitting another look from beyond the arc, and getting it going in the paint. Unfortunately the Bucks continued to excel on offense with Allen and Lopez sparking another 9-0 run and keeping Miami’s improved offense at bay. With the Heat down ten, Jimmy attempted to mount a comeback once again, but without offensive help from the Heat reserves and the Bucks continuing its offensive assault the lead ballooned to 16.
Without Jimmy on the floor to start the fourth things didn’t get better immediately. Reportedly battling a hamstring injury, Bam just hasn’t looked like the All-Star caliber player he was all season but he still did his absolute best and had his moments in the minutes without Jimmy to get the Heat within 10. With Love hitting a key look from three, Miami found itself back within eight and a strong sense of déja-vous in the air. Or was it Love in the air? With Love hitting his fifth three of the night to get the Heat within six.
With just over 7 minutes left, Jimmy re-entered the game but Holiday would push the lead back up to 10. Bam would cut it to eight once again, and multiple stops on the other end presented a strong opportunity for the Heat but instead of going to Jimmy the Heat forced looks. Thankfully, they went back to him and two straight scores mixed with an amazing Strus block had Miami back within five. A poorly timed Wes Matthews three, made things a little more difficult but not impossible. The Jimmy Bam two man game, suddenly had the Heat back within three and a huge Jimmy three pointer tied it seconds later. The Bucks stole the lead back, but it was just for a second with Bam hitting a clutch mid range look.
Tied with 1:17 left Miami was in yet another clutch game, but a missed Jimmy Butler two put control in the Bucks’ hands. Love’s 6th foul came at the worst possible time and was incredibly questionable, it also gave Middleton two free throws. With 27 seconds remaining the ball went to Jimmy who’d hoist a three, but it missed giving the Bucks a final opportunity to close the game. Strus intentionally fouled Holiday who’d make both free throws, but Gabe’s big three gave Miami a real chance. An amazing Lowry deflection would turn into a jump-ball after Spo challenged a horrible foul call. Holiday would head to the line again after a Middleton save turned into a foul and miss a free throw. With 2.1 seconds remaining and down only two the ball would go to Jimmy Butler on an insane in bounds alley-oop to send things to overtime.
Bam started OT with a put-back slam to put Miami ahead and Milwaukee looked panicked forcing jumpers and looking out of sorts. Lowry fouled out with 3:15 remaining, forcing Caleb to re-enter. Jimmy would go right back to work getting the Heat out ahead again, and Bam’s put-back got them up 5 points, but seconds later would leave fouling out with a triple double.
Giannis missed key free throws giving Miami an opportunity to extend the lead, and Cody Zeller would! Giannis would will things back within two forcing Miami into another clutch situation, but he’d foul Strus on a three point attempt with 40 seconds to go (he’d hit only two) but strong Heat defense prevented the Bucks from getting a final shot off. The Heat pulled off the impossible upsetting the best team in the NBA, and will advance to round 2 to take on New York.
Brook Lopez is an unrestricted free agent!!!
OMG.We beat the bucks in 5 games .The officiating was as pro buck as we have ever witnessed.Giannis walked on most every play and got away with it and Secaucus was not at all on our side.When we face the Knicks it will be worse as they are the darlings of the NBA.Thank the lord that we have Mr.Jimmy Butler on our side.As he stayed in post game interview he wants his first NBA championship now.There is no stopping this dude.Go heaters Go into the Madison square garden and put Big Gangster Thibs.in his place.