Bucks are faced, already, with a “must-win”
The 0-1 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 1-0 Miami Heat Wednesday Night at the Fiserv forum in downtown Milwaukee. Milwaukee lost to the Heat in Game One 130-117. In that game both teams faced a big injury to a starter. In the case of Miami, Tyler Herro broke his hand and is now lost for the series. For Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo is a game-time decision but is listed as “doubtful”. It is highly unlikely he’ll play.
TNT Color Commentator Reggie Miller has taken some “heat” for comments that losing Herro will be a bigger deal for the Heat than losing Antetokounmpo will be for Milwaukee.
If the Bucks lose game two, the series is all but over. Only four #8 seeds have upset a #1 seed in NBA history. (#8 Nugs over #1Supersonics 1994, #8 Knicks vs #1 Heat 1999, #8 Warriors over #1 Mavericks 2007, and #8 Grizz over Spurs 2011).
Vegas has the Bucks as 6 point favorites and are given a 68% chance to win to win Game Two.
Milwaukee seemed to be somewhat shocked, both the team and the city at what happened in Game One. For the Bucks to get back in this, they will need to win Game Two and take one of two from Miami, in Miami. In the NBA regular season the teams split their 4 games; Milwaukee won both home games and Miami won both home games.
The keys for the Bucks
Defend the Three and Rebound
Much has been made, including the Heat’s official twitter page, how well the Heat did in shooting the ball. The typical Bucks fan’s response has been, “they won’t shoot that well again?!” Of course they did not shoot that well in the NBA regular season- 34% from 3 and 46% from the field. On Sunday the Heat were 15-25 from three (60%). Milwaukee can not let that happen again.
The Bucks need to close out on three point shots. They also need to make sure they don’t settle back into a zone defense.
Milwaukee led the NBA in team rebounding with 48.6 rebounds per game. In Game One, Milwaukee did not rebound well. They only had 38 team rebounds. That needs to improve.
Get out to a faster start
The Bucks really need a true sense of urgency Wednesday Night.
Milwaukee averages 63 points in the first half in games at home. That’s 7th in the NBA. 118 points for a game total has really been a good number for them. Milwaukee only had 55 points in the first half of the Game One loss. They simply need to score more.
Brook Lopez only had 10 points in game one; Grayson Allen only had 12. A Big first half from either player will go a long way towards a win.
Related: Bucks lose game one at home
The Opponent: The Miami Heat
In our game one Miami Heat vs Bucks preview we really went into depth about Tyler Herro. The Milwaukee native, who attended Whitnall High School in Greenfield Wisconsin, is now out for the series. He accounts for 18% of the Heat’s total offense.
Miami had a decent regular season record: 44-38. The are a good team.
Bam Adebayo is a really interesting player. Only 25, he seems to be coming into his prime. Averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds per game in the regular season, Adebayo really is the engine that drives the Heat, even more so than point guard Kyle Lowry. In game one he had 22 points.
In Game One Jimmy Butler played outstanding. He scored 35 points, had a +/- of 17 and had 11 assists and three steals. Milwaukee only had three steals as a team.
Point guard Gabe Vincent also played well in game one. Averaging 7 points per game in his career, Vincent had an impactful 15 points in Game One.
Veteran Kevin Love played well, dropping a loud 18 points. Love was 4 of 7 from three. We wrote about him earlier this season as a potential Bucks buyout candidate.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- Teams that lose Game One of the playoff series generally (and there is certainly some debate here based-off 3/5/7 game series lengths) have about a 23% chance to win that series.
- The teams split the regular season series. Miami leads the all-time series between the two teams 75-51.
- Miami, in the regular season, was not the best at team passing. They averaged 23 assists per game, good for 25th overall in the NBA. In game one the Heat had 32 assists. That is a pretty significant difference.
- In game one Milwaukee only had 3 steals. In the regular season Milwaukee only had 6.4 steals per game, good for 27th overall in the NBA. Steals and forcing turnovers will be important in this game.
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