After leading Monday’s marquee matchup for pretty much the entire way, the Miami Heat gave the Milwaukee Bucks a proper scare toward the dying moments of the game. The shorthanded Heat just would not go away, and they made a game of it with less than 30 seconds left in the final quarter.
Milwaukee ended up making a couple of crucial mistakes near the death with both Damian Lillard and Giannis Anteotkounmpo committing costly turnovers. The Bucks held on, though, eventually securing a 122-114 win over their Eastern Conference rivals.
Damian Lillard Speaks Out on Milwaukee Bucks’ Near Collapse
After being up by 11 points with 37.5 seconds on the clock, the Bucks allowed their opponents to cut the deficit to just six points with 28.6 seconds remaining.
Lillard got trapped by the stifling Heat defense, which forced him to commit a turnover late in the final period. Miami hit a triple to cut down the lead to six, which was followed by a five-second violation courtesy of Antetokounmpo on their next possession.
Fortunately for Milwaukee, Tyler Herro missed his attempt from deep, and Giannis would sink two free throws on the ensuing play to close out the contest.
After the game, Lillard shared his assessment of his team’s near collapse towards the end:
“I think anytime you get in those types of situations – we had a turnover, we had a 5-second call – you have these moments where you have the opposite thing happen from what you want to be happening, it’s pretty easy to be like, man, we need to be better at this, we need to be better at that,” Lillard said, via Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But I think this early in the season we haven’t been in those situations specifically.
“I think the one takeaway is we’ve got to look at those moments and just calm ourselves down, give each other outlets and just count on our experience. This is not none of our first time being in that situation. We just gotta be sharper. But like I said, it’s early in the season, it takes time to just click at those types of things. But I don’t think it’s anything that we’ll have trouble with consistently.”
There are definitely going to be bumps along the way for this new-look Milwaukee side, and Monday was an example of the same. The silver lining here is that the Bucks were able to show their resiliency by holding off the Heat.
Regardless of how the game ended, Milwaukee is now 2-1 to start the season with a matchup against the Toronto Raptors coming up on Wednesday.
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