Well, ladies and gentlemen of Bucks Nation, the time is finally here.
After a year of uncertainty and a bubble that definitely had more of its share of downs than ups, we have arrived. The playoffs are here, in front of fans for the first time since 2019, and we here at Wisconsin Sports Heroics could not be happier. The “Milwaukee Bucks Revenge Tour” starts less than 24 hours from now, as they look to avenge last year’s second-round defeat against the Miami Heat. What are some things to look forward to, be wary of and what is the WSH prediction for this series? It is time for the Miami Heat series preview!
Matchups to watch
PG: Kendrick Nunn/Goran Dragic vs. Jrue Holiday
One of the biggest acquisitions in all of the NBA this year, Jrue Holiday has brought a dynamic to the Bucks that perhaps even the most optimistic of fans could have foreseen. While his offense has obviously been a major blessing on a team that could have certainly used his playmaking to take some pressure off the Greek Freak, it is his defense that has truly stood out. This is the part of his game that could really show well in this series, particularly in those instances where he could be defending the crafty veteran in Dragic. Regardless, give the edge to Jrue Holiday in this matchup.
C: Bam Adebayo vs. Brook Lopez
Speaking of defensive stalwarts that will need to show up against Miami, look no further than Brook Lopez. As one of two players in this series who signed a max contract over the summer, Adebayo has quickly become one of the best young players, and centers in general, in basketball. Improving his scoring from 15.9 to 18.7 points per game, Bam has also extended his shooting range this season, making it that much more difficult to defend him. The Bucks, however, did hold him to just five points in 33 minutes in their Sunday matchup, the momentum they will certainly hope to carry into the upcoming series.
Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer (left) and Miami coach Erik Spoelstra (right)
What To Watch For
As far as the Bucks are concerned, they simply are going to need to defend the three better in this series. Yes, Tyler Herro is not the same player he was last season, especially in the bubble. Yes, Jae Crowder is not around anymore to terrorize the Bucks from downtown like he did last year. However, that does not mean the former cannot change, and the Heat definitely still possess some sharp-shooting weapons. Miami has five players who are shooting 35% or more on over 2.5 attempts per game (Robinson, Nunn, Dragic, Herro, Ariza) and the Bucks are going to need to be on their A-game to prevent getting burned on that end of the floor.
Finally and perhaps most crucial is going to be the coaching matchup. Part of the reason that the Heat has matched up so well against Milwaukee in the past comes down to coach Erik Spoelstra and his knack for adjusting to anything the opposition throws his team’s way. One of Budenholzer’s most visible shortcomings, he is going to need to channel something similar within himself to put the Bucks in the best position to succeed in this series.
Being the first-round series, and especially seeing who would wait on the horizon for them, it will not start easy for the Bucks, nor will it get any easier. Still, though, I believe the Bucks have not only the motivation but also the pure talent to get this thing done. Fitting that it is against the Heat that this trend started, but my prediction for this series is the tried and true…
Bucks in six.
Enjoy the highs and lows, the jubilation and the stress, and everything in between for as long as this ride will let us. The NBA Playoffs are here, people, and the Milwaukee Bucks Revenge Tour 2021 starts in just a matter of hours.
Follow me on Twitter at @paul_willems15 and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content. Check out our merch page here and use promo code Wisco at check out for $1 off! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!