It is the most beautiful time of the year.
Every day alive during the turn of this Covid-19 global pandemic is a beautiful time of the year.
It is time for the NBA Playoffs; I am still located where Miami Heat plays. Who is playing the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round.
The Heat avoided the play-in, while the Bucks finished third in the Eastern Conference, the lowest seed I consider acceptable for a team their caliber.
This series will have a “rematch” narrative since the Heat handed the gentleman’s sweep to then no.1 seed Bucks last season. But that was in the bubble. This year there is home court, and the rosters have changed slightly.
The Bucks are favored in this series as they were last season.
Miami seeded sixth is not scared of Milwaukee; they consider themselves the better team.
There are players for the Heat who match well defensively against Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo injured his ankle early in Game 4 and didn’t play the rest of last year’s Heat series.
Trevor Ariza and Bam Adebayo are two guys who can guard either one.
The Bucks regrouped after last year’s exit by rearranging the pieces complementing Antetokounmpo and Middleton. The most notable addition was Jrue Holiday, who averaged 19 points and shot 11 of 21 from the 3-point range against the Heat during the regular season.
Holiday is there because Eric Bledsoe was a liability. Holiday can guard anyone, and he is a two-way weapon for the Bucks. He will make Miami adjust.
The Heat can stop the Bucks’ transition and force them to play half-court.
Not many teams can slow down Antetokounmpo; the Heat are one of them. He averages 18.6 points on 50.4% shooting in regular-season and playoff games against Miami.
If you are predicable against Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, he will coach around that.
Heat offense have improved the final month of the year and figured some things out even with Ariza improving as a new addition. The offense has been coming from Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro.
The Heat were 7-14 early in the season and stuck at .500 in mid-April. But they enter the playoffs on fire after winning 12 of their last 16 regular-season games. I wonder where Miami will get consistent scoring to match the scoring of the Bucks? Duncan Robinson’s three-point shooting can be a start.
Milwaukee had won eight of nine games before closing the regular season with a 118-112 loss at Chicago that was meaningless since their starters rested.
Bucks are the more talented team. Last year they were more predictable; this year, they have more options. Better yet, the offensive menu is deeper.
Bucks in six.