After falling to the Miami Heat in the second round last year, the Milwaukee Bucks got their revenge against them. The Heat became the first team to be bounced from the playoffs in 2021 after making the Finals last season. In this series, blowouts were a common theme. Let’s take a look back at how this series unfolded.
NBA Playoffs Recap: Milwaukee Bucks vs Miami Heat
The Overtime Thriller
The first playoff game of the year was an absolute thriller. There was a lot of back-and-forth in this game and neither team made big runs. This game came down to the last play. The Heat managed to force overtime thanks to the game-tying layup by Jimmy Butler. He struggled in Game 1 only making four out of 22 shots from the field. However, it was Khris Middleton who had the last laugh in this one. He drilled the game-winning jumper with 0.5 seconds left in overtime.
The Bucks Dominated the Heat
After the overtime thriller in Game 1, the Bucks dominated the Heat in Game 2. Milwaukee shot the lights out early in this game and scored 46 points in the first quarter. The Bucks are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league and it was on full display in Game 2. They never looked back after taking a big lead early against Miami. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 31 points as they cruised to a 132-98 win to take a 2-0 series lead.
Game 3 was also a blowout. It was another dominant performance by the Bucks. The Heat struggled offensive as they only scored 14 points in the first quarter. Nobody on the Heat outside of Butler got going offensively in the first half. The Bucks got going offensively in the third quarter and overwhelmed the Heat. They had a balanced attack where six players scored in double figures. Middleton led Milwaukee with 22 points. Jrue Holiday added 19 points and dished out 12 assists. However, the win for the Bucks came at a cost for them. Milwaukee loses their starting guard Donte DiVincenzo for the rest of the playoffs due to an ankle injury.
In each of these first three games is that Milwaukee punished Miami with their size. The Bucks dominated the Heat in rebounding in each of these three games. This goes to show how important rebounding is, especially in the playoffs.
The Inevitable End for the Heat
The Heat have their backs against the walls going down 3-0 as no team has come back to win a series down three games. In Game 4, the Heat got off to a good start offensively knocking down shots from the perimeter. The Bucks, on the other hand, couldn’t buy one from three early on. However, the momentum of this game changed in the second half.
The Bucks went on a 24-7 in the third quarter and Middleton was a key culprit in that big run. He was one of four Bucks players who finished with 20+ points in this game. As for Miami, their offense let them down yet again. Bam Adebayo had his best game in this series as he finished with 20 points and added 14 rebounds. Brook Lopez also had his best game in the series as he led the Bucks with 25 points. The Bucks finish off the sweep against the Heat after a 120-103 win in Game 4.
The Bucks had a lot of players who performed well but Antetokounmpo was the best player for them in this series. He averaged 23.5 points, 15.0 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 1.8 steals in this series. As for the other Bucks star, Middleton averaged 21.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game.
As for the Heat, Goran Dragic was their best player in this series. He chipped in 16 points per game in these four games. Nobody on the Heat played well in every game in this series, but Dragic was the most consistent of the bunch.
Up Next For the Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks will now be able to get some much-needed rest in the playoffs. They will await the winner of the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics series. The Nets are the overwhelming favorites in their current series and will likely be the opponents for the Bucks in the second round. If that is the case, it will be a tough test for Milwaukee.