Bucks head out on the road, looking to win one of two
Giannis is out for Game Three
The 1-1 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 1-1 Miami Heat Saturday Night at the newly named Kaseya Center in Miami. Milwaukee lost to the Heat in game one 130-117.Then the Bucks came back and smoked the Heat in Game Two, 138-122. Now Milwaukee finds itself in a “slight” hole, needing to grab a win in Miami to get back home-court advantage.
Tip-off is set for 7:47 EST.
The scheduling here is interesting. Technically the Bucks and Heat are doing exactly what they did in the regular season with Game Four being played on a Monday, 4.24.23. (George Hill famously remarked about the Bucks home-in-home with the Heat in January, “At least we get to play somewhere warm.” For the Bucks, the Heat were able to win both of those games. Of course the personnel was different. As were the stakes.
Milwaukee needs a win tonight or Monday. If they lose tonight (Game Three) the thinking is that Giannis will 100% be back on Monday. But if they win, maybe he rests the until mid-week next week.
The keys for the Bucks
Defend the Three
Miami shot 60% from three in Game One and followed that up with a 44% effort in Game Two. That’s pretty darn good in today’s NBA.
What can Milwaukee do? Who should they try to really shut down?
Well, Gabe Vincent for starters. He has been able to hit some shots. (4/5 in Game One and 4/9 in Game Two). He really hasn’t been known as a prolific three point shooter so getting him to struggle a little more with stronger close-outs and tougher, more focused D would help.
Miami only shot 34% from behind the arc in the regular season. I’m sure the Bucks are studying the film and working on how to better position defenders to bring down that playoff number to where it was in the regular season.
Win the First Quarter
The Bucks really came out in Game Two with a true sense of urgency. They won the first quarter 35-28. It may sound like an oversimplification but Milwaukee’s Best Guys (starters) need to be better than the Heat’s best guys.
Milwaukee averages 56 points in the 1st half on games on the road compared with 61 at home. Where could some increased 1st half scoring come from? Milwaukee needs more scoring from guards Grayson Allen and Jrue Holiday.
With no Giannis other players need to step up to fill the void in scoring. Brook Lopez only had 10 points in game one; Grayson Allen only had 12. The big game from Lopez in Game Two helped make all the difference.
The Opponent: The Miami Heat
What can you say, Miami is a decent team who had a decent regular season record: 44-38. Game One was a surprise for many (myself included) in terms of how much the Heat won by. In reality, Miami was a team that struggled to score in the regular season, barely averaging 109 points per game.
Related: Bucks lose game one at home
For these next couple of games, watch Duncan Robinson. He signed a big deal and has just not played up to expectations. The Heat will need him to play well. If he does, then Miami has more than a chance. If he does not play well, this might all go south for Miami quickly.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
In Game One Milwaukee only had 3 steals. In Game Two Milwaukee had 9 steals. That “steals” number is one to watch. 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.
Miami averaged 58.5 points in the first half at home in the regular season.
Miami last won the NBA Championship in 2013.
Dwayne Wade is Miami’s all-time leading scorer.
Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo is the team’s all-time leader in blocked shots.
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