The Bucks Blasted The Heat Again To Take A Commanding 3-0 Series Lead

The Milwaukee Bucks throttled the Miami Heat in Game 2 on Monday, converting 22 three-pointers and winning by a 34-point margin. With that win, Milwaukee claimed control of the series with a 2-0 lead, but the Heat did have the solace provided by homecourt advantage in Game 3 and Game 4. On Thursday, Miami had the opportunity to land a blow against Milwaukee but, in short, no such advance materialized, with the Bucks suffocating the Heat with tremendous defense and taking a commanding 3-0 series lead with a 113-84 victory on the road.

Picking up where they left off in Game 2, the Bucks came flying out of the gate, taking a 12-4 lead. Khris Middleton contributed a four-point play along the way, and Milwaukee held Miami to just four points on 2-of-10 shooting in the first five minutes.

The Bucks took a 26-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, which wasn’t a surprise considering their strong start. Milwaukee was able to put distance between themselves and Miami without hot shooting, though, as the visitors converted just 9-of-26 shots in the opening period. The Bucks generated six offensive rebounds and, perhaps more importantly, held the Heat to just 6-of-23 shooting in their own right.

Milwaukee continued their strong play in the second quarter, extending their lead to as many as 19 points with the help of 12 early points from Jrue Holiday.

The Heat did finish on a (moderately) more encouraging note, but Miami still faced a 13-point halftime deficit after shooting just 31 percent in the first half. Milwaukee did encounter a speed bump with the injury-related exit of Donte DiVincenzo, but the Bucks played at a high level, even without top-flight shooting efficiency.

In the early portion of the third quarter, Miami kept things in a manageable range, seemingly preparing to make a timely run. The opposite occurred, however, with Milwaukee breaking the game open in full with a 16-3 run to take an 80-53 lead with 2:09 remaining in the period.

The Bucks scored first in the fourth quarter, taking a 28-point lead, but Miami did throw a small counterpunch. The Heat used an 8-0 run to climb within a 88-68 margin with 9:54 remaining.

Miami could not parlay that momentum into a real closing kick, as the Bucks quickly restored order. Milwaukee put the game away entirely with a 17-5 run, taking a 32-point lead and eliminating any doubt about the result.

Milwaukee did not finish the night with a gaudy offensive mark in the same vein as the team’s three-point barrage in Game 2. Thursday’s performance was still brilliant, though, with highly efficient offense and defense that did not allow Miami to find any juice throughout the evening.

The Bucks shot 48 percent from the floor and 36 percent from three-point range in the game, with six players reaching double figures in scoring. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the victors with 17 points and 17 rebounds in only 32 minutes, with Middleton (22 points, eight rebounds, five assists) and Holiday (19 points, 12 assists) playing quite well in support. On the other end, Miami struggled mightily to create efficient looks, finishing the night with 38 percent shooting and only 28 percent from long distance.

The two teams meet again on Saturday afternoon in Miami. Though nothing is impossible, it would take a Herculean effort for the Heat to climb back into the series, and the Heat must win Game 4 or they will be heading home earlier than most projected.