Bucks vs Heat- Game 5 Preview
The 1-3 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 3-1 Miami Heat Wednesday Night in beautiful Downtown Milwaukee at home at the “beer Keg ”- the Fiserv Forum. Tip time is 8:37 CST (later). In the regular season the Bucks were 32-9 at home. Miami was 17-24 on the road. Milwaukee needs to win or their season is over.
There is no way anyone could have predicted the Bucks would be in this position for this game.
Fans of both teams have been shocked at how this series has gone. From the 56 point performance from Jimmy Butler in Game 4 to Tyler Herro breaking his hand in Game 1, these games have been up and down for Heat fans too. But for Milwaukee fans… well… from Jae Crowder’s 3-13 series shooting performance to key turnovers at the worst times from point guard Jrue Holiday, this has been tough at times to watch.
The regular season series was split between the two clubs. Milwaukee won the last two; Miami won the first two. Now the regular season feels like years ago.
The keys for the Bucks
Play with more intensity
Much has been made lately of the PJ Tucker factor. That maybe, the thinking goes, he was what Milwaukee really did need to win the NBA 2020-2021 NBA Championship. Those critics of the current roster appear to be right.
Brook Lopez brought that “dawg” mentality in Game Four. Scoring 36 with 11 rebounds was a legit performance. It just was overshadowed by Butler’s 56. For Lopez it is truly a “rock and a hard place” situation; he has transformed his play into more of a three-point shooter with some rim-protector help. Lopez is not the guy out there pushing other guys around (Bill Laimbeer, Dillion Brooks, Draymond Green).
That role still needs to be filled or this series will be over. Maybe that intensity comes from a couple of players: Portis, Allen and Giannis. And it also has to come from the fans. The fans need to truly believe that Milwaukee can win this year’s championship. It starts in Game Five at home. Maybe the fans can provide that “punch in the mouth”.
Don’t Turn the Basketball Over at the wrong time
Miami was decent in not turning the ball over this season. They were 9th in the NBA. (13.5 per game). The Bucks improved throughout the season but still finished 22nd in the NBA in team turnovers.
If you were an alien from outer space, you would instantly think both Milwaukee and Miami are equally good at protecting the ball. Look at this basic team-turnover breakdown.
- Game 4- Heat 15, Milwaukee 14
- Game 3- Heat 13, Milwaukee 18
- Game 2- Heat 17, Milwaukee 16
- Game 1- Heat 15, Milwaukee 13
The raw data seems pretty equal. But unfortunately, for the Bucks, the timing of these turnovers could not be much worse. When Milwaukee turns over the ball it leads to Miami points and big plays. When Miami turns it over it hasn’t led to many momentum swings.
The Opponent: The Miami Heat
The idea of “Heat Culture” is simple: be disciplined because NBA players can often fall astray. Miami is supposed to be this great place to party; Heat players express a certain work ethic that rises above that.
In the regular season it was the Herro, Butler, and Bam Adebayo show. Max Struss and Duncan Robinson simply did not have good seasons. Struss barely averaged 11 points a game and Robinson averaged six a game. Kyle Lowry was injured for much of the year.
Now Max Struss is playing like a legend, Robinson has logged some awesome shooting efforts (5-5 from three) and Lowry is playing like a pitbull.
Much was made about Milwaukee’s depth. But it has been Miami’s bench and depth that has set the tone.
All-star Bam Adebayo continues to play well. Averaging 20/9/3, he is the Heat’s leading rebounder and rim protector.
Jimmy Butler is a star for Miami. The 33 year old has had a wonderful NBA career. Before the start of this series Butler’s stats against Milwaukee were not strong (15/4/4). Then he dropped 56 in Game Four. Now he is carrying his team to a possible series upset.
The Heat Culture starts with Head Coach Eric Spoelstra who is still coaching for Miami. (First season was in 1997). He has won two NBA Championships with Miami and has helped instill a “heat culture” which is well-renowned in NBA circles. The main idea is “stay ready so you don’t have to be ready.” Sounds pretty philosophical.
People wonder what is "Heat Culture"… Heat Culture is discipline, accountability, work ethic and enjoying somebody else’s success. As the #OG, it's my job to set the tone. Stay ready so you don't have to get ready. @GQ @GQsports⚓️💯 https://t.co/RD2xHB3mUC pic.twitter.com/HHLQaaZUYH
— Udonis Haslem (@ThisIsUD) October 27, 2021
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- In Milwaukee’s 55 year franchise history they have won 17 division titles.
- Milwaukee Bucks fan R. D. Trebilcox, was awarded a new car for his part in reasoning why the Bucks was a good nickname for the team upon its creation, saying that bucks were “spirited, good jumpers, fast and agile.” The second place mascot for the team was the “Robins”.
- The Bucks only won 26 games in their inaugural season. Then, after winning a coin flip to be able to draft Lew Alcindor with the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee won 56 games in their second season.
- If this is indeed “it”, it has been an absolute pleasure to write this season about the Milwaukee Bucks. I’ve written over 140 different content pieces on the team this season and am excited and hopeful I’ll get a few more chances to write a few more ~ Rudy
Follow me on Twitter at @authorrudylb and check out my other writings at www.rudylb.com. Check out the cool I-Heart Radio Podcast Gyro Step Podcast here. Follow us at @WiSportsHeroics for all things Wisconsin sports. Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!