It was what some could call a rematch waiting to happen. After the Milwaukee Bucks were knocked out of the first round of playoffs last season by the Miami Heat, they were on the hunt for redemption. The Bucks welcomed the Heat to Fiserv Forum on Monday for the first time since the playoffs upset, and came out on top with a 122-114 win over the Heat.
Bucks Back in the Win Column
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and made 8 of his 11 free throws, 10 of his points coming in the opening five minutes of play. Damian Lillard had a much better night compared to Sunday and tacked on 25 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
Miami was without two-time All-Star Bam Adebayo, who bruised his hip on Saturday in their loss against Minnesota. Wisconsin native Tyler Herro led the Heat with 35 points, most coming from a second half run.
As mentioned, this was the first time since the Heat knocked the Bucks out of the playoffs in a best-of-seven last season. Miami ended up going all the way from the play-in rounds to the Finals, while the Bucks were trying to figure out on how to fix up their team for next season. That started with firing coach Mike Budenholzer and replacing him with Adrian Griffin, former Toronto Raptors head coach.
From the bench, Milwaukee’s first half scoring (30-6) was led mostly by Bobby Portis’ 14. The bench helped the Bucks carry a 62-52 lead at the half, some of that coming from a 9-point scoring effort by Brook Lopez, Malik Beasley, and Khris Middleton. From the gate, the bench was a huge factor in Milwaukee’s victory, but ultimately the Heat’s bench outscored the Bucks 45-43.
Milwaukee’s offense really started to ‘heat’ up in the third quarter. Lillard had gotten his groove, and everyone seemed to be making shots. As Milwaukee headed into the final quarter of regulation, they had a 97-73 lead over the Heat.
But the Heat wouldn’t let the Bucks win this game that easy. They were able to chisel their deficit down to single digits in the final minutes of the game. It was a super close game until the end where the Bucks were able to breathe a sigh of relief and earn the 122-114 win.
Khris Middleton back in Bucks Lineup
After sitting Sunday’s loss against Atlanta out due to precaution with his knee, Khris Middleton was back in the lineup for Milwaukee on Monday. In his season debut against Philadelphia, he had five points in 16 minutes of play. In Monday’s contest, he played 17 minutes, scoring five points and had five assists.
The Bucks are now 2-1 on the season, while the Miami Heat fall to 1-3.
Milwaukee will travel to Toronto to face coach Griffin’s old team on Wednesday.
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