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The Bucks Finished A Sweep Of The Heat With A Dominant Second Half Performance

Facing elimination after getting absolutely rocked in Games 2 and 3 by the Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat came out with the appropriate energy to start Game 4, looking like the more desperate team and jumping out to an early double-digit advantage as the Bucks looked a bit sleepy for the early tip time. Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler got it going finally in their two-man game, Butler was orchestrating the offense beautifully, and Trevor Ariza got hot from three to help Miami open up a big lead early on.

However, even as they started slow, the Bucks never seemed panicked. They steadily reeled in the Heat and arrived at the half down seven despite a dreadful shooting start. The message at the half was clear, keep running the offense, be better with the basketball after being turnover-happy early, and the results will come. It didn’t take long for that to come to fruition, and by the mid-third quarter, Milwaukee was the team in control.

After the Bucks went on a 24-4 run in the third quarter to flip the script and take a double-digit lead of their own, things were spiraling for the Heat, as Udonis Haslem tried to fire up the troops one last time — with Kendrick Nunn seeming like the only one who received the message as he scored eight straight to keep Miami attached.

In the end, though, the Heat just didn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Bucks, who figured out how to attack Miami in the second half, getting Giannis and Middleton going, and once that happened it was an avalanche of points that the Heat had no answers for. Every time the Heat closed the gap to a few possessions, Milwaukee had an answer on the offensive end, as Bryn Forbes continued his hot shooting, Middleton picked it up, and the Bucks just never relented.

Middleton and Giannis each had 20 points, but the somewhat unlikely hero with so much of Miami’s attention staying locked on those two was Brook Lopez, who had a monster 25-point, 8-rebound game to give the Bucks a much-needed spark.

The exclamation point came from Giannis, who capped off his first career playoff triple-double (20 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds) with a slick layup and an emphatic dunk in the closing minutes.

The final result was a 120-103 win with the Bucks dominating the second half, allowing just 39 points while scoring 63 of their own. Milwaukee won games against the Heat in just about every way imaginable, and for them to blow them out in a game they shot just 31 percent from three has to make them feel very good going into Round 2. They won a tight, overtime contest where shots weren’t falling. They boatraced Miami twice with incredible shooting and defense, and in Game 4 they got timely shooting but mostly just imposed their will physically in the second half against a team that prides itself on that.

They now get to rest up for a few days and begin preparing for what most expect to be a showdown with the Brooklyn Nets in the second round, although the Celtics picking up a win in Game 3 suddenly makes that series a touch more interesting. That will be a wholly different challenge than Miami, but after the way the Heat ousted them in the Bubble, the Bucks getting a sweep with three straight blowouts to close out the series has to feel very good as they got to exorcise some of their postseason demons.

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