The Milwaukee Bucks made easy work of almost every team in the East on their way to the best record in the NBA this season. Almost every team. The lone exception: the Miami Heat. It is this same Heat team that the Bucks will need to get passed in order to continue their pursuit of the organization’s first championship since 1971.
The Milwaukee Bucks struggled mightily against the Heat this season. The Heat won two of the three games the two teams played against each other and they weren’t exactly always close.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is always going to be key to Bucks’ victories. In order for the Bucks to win, he needs to be able to finish at the basket while also knocking down mid-range jumpers consistently.
There is little concern over Giannis’ ability to do these things; however, everyone has an off night. In one of the losses against the Heat, Giannis was held to just 13 points while grabbing 15 rebounds. The key stat, though, is that he only had three assists. The rest of the team struggled shooting as well. In order for Milwaukee to win, Khris Middleton cannot start off cold like he did in the Magic series (he did average over 23 points a game against the Heat this season). The rest of the supporting cast needs to knock down consistent shots as well.
Finally, the Bucks MUST defend the three. The Miami Heat shot 43.3% against the Bucks from behind the arc during the regular season. Ever since returning to play, the Bucks have struggled to defend the three ball. Miami shoots very well and their style of play could very well be the Bucks’ weakness. Milwaukee can win the battle inside, but must neutralize the outside offense in order to win.
Eric Bledsoe is questionable for today’s game with a strained right hamstring.