The Miami Heat visited Milwaukee on Wednesday night for the latest chapter in what has become one of the NBA’s best rivalries between the Heat and the Bucks.
The Bucks jumped on Miami early, running out to a quick 10-point lead, but saw the Heat steadily claw their way back in front by the end of the first half. The Heat would extend that lead to as many as 14 early in the fourth quarter, and it looked like we were headed for another impressive win for the East’s No. 1 team. However, the Bucks woke up in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, closing on a 21-6 run to steal a win from their rivals and help their cause as they look to sew up a top-4 seed in the East.
Giannis Antetokounmpo started the comeback off with eight points in the final six minutes, as he got himself to the rim and to the foul line to start chipping away at Miami’s lead. As the Bucks got closer, the Heat’s offense got tighter and the absence of Kyle Lowry as a steadying presence became a real issue for Miami as they struggled to create good looks against a suddenly engaged Milwaukee defense. It was the effort of that swarming defense that helped the Bucks complete the comeback, starting with a steal by Khris Middleton, forced by a double team on Tyler Herro, that he parlayed into a transition three to cut the deficit to one with 13.5 seconds to play.
The Heat would call a timeout to advance the ball up the floor, but Milwaukee did a masterful job denying the pass into the backcourt, forcing a wild inbounds into Jimmy Butler at the free throw line who fell to the floor after he and Giannis collided going for the ball and eventually got tied up by the two-time MVP.
I respected the design on this one except for not getting Giannis all the way out of there. Give Wes Matthews credit here. Butler techincally has the entire court to work with, Wes denies it and forces him the other way. pic.twitter.com/yj1TC3TiiJ
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) March 3, 2022
The Bucks would win the tip and Jrue Holiday calmly brought the ball across and powered through Gabe Vincent and tossed the game-winning shot over the outstretched arm of Bam Adebayo.
It was the kind of game we’ve come to expect from these two teams, who tend to ratchet up the intensity even in regular season matchups. Tyler Herro’s 30-point performance off the bench led the way for Miami, with Butler and Adebayo combining for 39 points, but the late turnovers proved to be killer to Miami’s ability to hold on.
For the Bucks, it was an all-around effort from their stars, with Holiday, Middleton, and Antetokounmpo all scoring 25 or more, with Jrue dishing out 11 assists and Giannis pulling down 17 rebounds in the impressive come from behind victory.