Bucks head out on the road, looking to squeeze out one of two
The 1-2 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 2-1 Miami Heat Monday Night at the 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. Then Milwaukee lost Game Three 121-99 on the road.
And here we are: down 1-2. Needing to, in the worst way, leave Miami with a win.
Tip-off is set for 6:37 EST. In the regular season Milwaukee was 26-15 on the road. For Milwaukee that road success needs to come out in some way in this game.
If Giannis plays, which seems to be everyone in Wisconsin’s hope, then Milwaukee is a different team. If the Bucks go down 3-1, they almost have to be flawless to win the series.
The keys for the Bucks
Limit their turnovers (less than 12)
The Bucks had 18 turnovers in Game Three. That wasn’t good. The top team in the NBA Regular Season (Toronto) only averaged 11 turnovers a game.
Jrue Holiday had five turnovers, which is a little higher for him, (career 2.7 turnovers) and that really hurt the Bucks. Holiday had three in Game Two.
Khris Middleton also struggled here. His five turnovers came on mostly bad passes.
In Game Two Milwaukee (the win!) had eleven turnovers. Middleton only had a single turnover. Milwaukee needs that number: less than 12turnovers.
Win the “war” of injury attrition
Tyler Herro is out for the series. Jimmy Butler seemed to get a little banged up in Game Three. Victor Oladipo is out for a while.
Giannis might be back? If the Bucks can play with energy, get defensive stops, and just be “less banged up”, that really helps.
Defend the Three
Miami shot 60% from three in Game One and followed that up with a 44% effort in Game Two.
Then in Game Three Miami shot 48% from behind the arc. The thinking continues to be, “they won’t be that good next time.”
Anything over 40% is pretty darn good in today’s NBA. (The best team three point shooting group was the 76er’s at 38.7%)
What can Milwaukee do? Who should they try to really shut down the hot shooting Heat?
Well, stop Gabe Vincent for starters. He has been able to hit some shots. (4/5 in Game One and 4/9 in Game Two and finally was 0/1). It almost worked in Game Three until Duncan Robinson was “lights out”. Vincent 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. Now for Milwaukee getting the streaky Robinson so slow down would help.
Miami only shot 34% from behind the arc in the regular season. How they keep shooting so well in these games is just killing the Bucks.
The Opponent: The Miami Heat
Eric Spoelstra 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. Basically, it goes like this: Miami is a great place to party. Heat players/fans/staff kinda lure the other team over to the party while the Heat players have this secret, killer long practices. Something like that…
Jimmy Butler is “Heat Culture”. He has had two 50 point games in his career. The 12 yr NBA veteran is having a strong series.
Related: Bucks lose game one at home
All-star Bam Adebayo has been one of Miami’s best players this season. Averaging 20/9/3, he is the Heat’s leading rebounder and rim protector. He is a little banged up and is listed as “probable.”
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- The Milwaukee Bucks have been around for 55 years. They have made the playoffs in 34 seasons.
- Miami averaged 58.5 points in the first half at home in the regular season. In Game Three they had 66 points in the first half.
- If you are looking for tons more, check out some of the Heat game previews we wrote earlier this season.
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