Miami Heat fans, there are no moral victories.
If I told you, Bam Adebayo would go 4 for 15 from the field. Jimmy Butler 4 for 22 for the Heat. Moreover, the Milwaukee Bucks would need a buzzer-beater in overtime on their home court to win 109-107 on Saturday in Game 1 of the first-round series. Would you take that moral victory?
A win would be preferred.
Khris Middleton bust a tie with a jumper with 0.5 seconds remaining in overtime, finishing with 27 points.
“You miss a lot of shots. You make a lot of shots.” Middleton said. “You just have to trust all the work you put in during the season and practice.”
The Bucks home game was the largest attendance for a home game this season. This one was an instant classic.
Milwaukee is seeded third and Miami sixth in the Eastern Conference. The narrative of a rematch is alive because last year, these two teams played in the bubble. The Bucks were the No. 1 overall seed in last year’s playoffs and were humbled 4-1 to Miami in the second round.
The Bucks played with the taste from the bubble still in their mouths.
The Bucks dominated the Heat, scoring in the paint and outrebounding them, outscoring the Heat 56-24 in the paint and outrebounding Miami 64-51.
Neither team had a double-figure lead. Bucks finished with12 fast break points, Heat with 2.
The team visiting from South Beach was able to keep it close thanks to a one-sided three-point shooting. The Heat was 20 of 50; Bucks were 5-31.
Duncan Robinson started the game three for three from 3-point land. He finished with 24 points while shooting 7 of 13 from 3-point range.
Duncan’s seven 3-pointers tied a Heat playoff record.
Butler and Adebayo will need to make it off the team bus in game two. They combined 8 of 37 for the Heat.
“You miss shots; you got days like that,” Butler said. “You have to bounce back and figure out ways to get better. Not just on offense but on defense as well.”
Butler was one for ten from the field in the first half, 8 points with four turnovers. He finished with 17 points, ten rebounds, and eight assists.
The defense was impressive on both ends in the game.
The edge went to Bucks because of Jrue Holiday and Middleton to the rescue.
Middleton had the “S” on his chest, but Holiday wrote the comic book.
Holiday was 0-5 from 3-point land but finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and three steals. Holiday was valuable defensively, leading the Heat to make valuable adjustments for game two so Butler and Adebayo can get easier shot attempts.
Giannis Antetokounmpo wore a sleeve late in the fourth quarter after grabbing his left arm. He had 26 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, and 6 of 13 on free-throw attempts, including a rare 10-second violation preventing him from attempting a free-throw attempt.
The beat goes on to game two.