In NBA postseason history, teams that take a 2-0 lead in a seven-game series win 94% of the time. As such, the odds are stacked in the Milwaukee Bucks’ favor, while the Miami Heat face a steep climb to overcome a 6% chance of coming from behind after trailing 0-2.
The Heat lost Game 1 in overtime in Milwaukee, then they were crushed in a 34-point blowout in Game 2. The series moves to Miami for Game 3 for the Heat’s first chance at playing the Bucks on their home court in South Beach.
The Heat were the Cinderella story of the 2020 NBA playoffs, winning the Eastern Conference as a #5 seed before losing to LeBron James and the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals. Fans in South Beach hoped the Heat could build upon last year’s success and unleash another deep run in the 2021 playoffs. However, the Heat’s immediate future looks grim after falling behind 0-2.
|#3 Milwaukee Bucks (2-0) at #6 Miami Heat (0-2)|
- Tip-Off: 5/27 at 7:30 pm ET
- Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami
- Point Spread: MIL -1
- Total: 227 o/u
- Money Line: MIL -120 / MIA +110
The Bucks were eliminated from last year’s playoffs by the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The series last just five games after Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo sprained his ankle and the Heat dusted off the Bucks 4-1. The Bucks have payback and revenge on their minds after drawing the Heat in the opening round.
Game 1: OT thriller
The Heat and the Bucks squared off in the opening game of the 2021 postseason on Saturday afternoon. You couldn’t ask for a more exciting game when the two teams headed into overtime tied at 99-99.
The Bucks averted disaster and won Game 1 to take a 1-0 lead despite poor free-throw shooting from Antetokounmpo. Khris Middleton knocked down a jump shot with 0.5 seconds remaining to seal the 109-107 victory for the Bucks. Middleton finished the game with 27 points on 10-for-22 shooting. Antetokounmpo added 26 points, 18 rebounds, and three steals.
“I have confidence in myself,” said Middleton. “You miss a lot of shots. Make a lot of shots. You just have to trust all the work you put in during the season and practice.”
The Bucks put the clampdown on Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Their smothering defense held Adebayo and Butler to a combined 8-for-24 shooting and 26 points. Jrue Holiday did a stellar job sticking to Butler on the perimeter, limiting him to 2-for-9 from 3-point range.
The Heat hit 20 3-point shots versus only five for the Bucks. The Bucks struggled with a 5-for-31 clip (16.1%), but still held on for the win.
“We don’t need 3’s to win, because we do a lot of everything” said Holiday, who shot 0-for-5 from downtown.
Miami’s Duncan Robinson took 13 shots, all of which were 3-pointers. He tallied 24 points in a losing cause for the Heat.
Game 2: Beer City blowout
The Bucks scored 46 points in the first quarter and jumped out to a 26-point lead in Game 2, and the Heat never recovered. The Bucks led by 27 points at halftime and opened a 30-point lead by the start of the fourth quarter to bury the Heat.
Antetokounmpo dominated Game 2 with 31 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists in a 132-98 victory. The Bucks also shot the ball from beyond the arc much better than in Game 1, when they connected on only five 3-pointers. The Bucks knocked down 22 treys, compared to only eight from the trey-reliant Heat.
Bryn Forbes came off the bench to score 22 points in 20 minutes for the Bucks. Forbes shot 6-for-9 from 3-point range.
“They made a lot of shots, but we didn’t make anything difficult on them or take anything away,” said Butler.
Once again, the Bucks kept Butler and Adebayo in check in Game 2. The Heat’s dynamic duo combined for only 19 points in the loss on 9-for-21 shooting. Neither Adebayo nor Butler attempted a 3-point shot.
“I don’t think we need to give ourselves a pep talk,” said Adebayo. “We’re grown men. At the end of the day, we are down 2-0. We know what we’ve got to do.”
Facing an 0-2 deficit, the Heat are desperately missing Victor Oladipo right now. Oladipo had season-ending surgery after a suffered quad injury.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 NBA playoffs.