The Milwaukee Bucks are supposed to beat the Miami Heat. Granted, Giannis Antetokounmpo and company entered Friday night’s tilt against the Heat as only six-point favorites, but a quick glance at the box score wouldn’t produce any shock and awe when seeing that Milwaukee ultimately prevailed by a final score of 113-98.
However, this particular 15-point win came with a bit of NBA history, as the Bucks actually trailed by 20 points after 24 minutes of action before an incredible charge following the halftime break.
In the first half, the Bucks weren’t totally aimless, scoring 42 points on a semi-respectable 41 percent shooting. With that said, Milwaukee opened 1-for-14 from beyond the three-point arc and turned the ball over 10 times, with only Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton reaching double figures in scoring.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re down 20, 15, 10,” Antetokounmpo said, via NBA.com. “We’re going to keep playing hard. It’s a process. You’ve got to win games like this. You’ve got to face adversity when you’re playing on the road. In the playoffs, it’s not going to be easy. We want to be a great team and that’s why we keep playing hard.”
The group did, indeed, keep playing hard, and the second half was an utterly dominant display. Milwaukee outscored Miami by a 71-36 margin in the third and fourth quarters, shooting 55 percent from the floor and 11-for-19 from three-point distance. It wasn’t only the offense, either, as the Bucks held the Heat to a dismal 28 percent shooting clip (and 2-for-10 from three) to aid greatly in the comeback.
After 48 minutes, Antetokounmpo submitted an MVP-quality line with 33 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, three blocks and two steals, ensuring that the Bucks had the best player on the court. That is usually a good sign when evaluating the chance for a win but, in the same breath, it was a team effort after halftime when the stars aligned for a memorable two-quarter explosion.
The Bucks have been the best team in the NBA this season and, for one half on Friday evening, they reminded everyone of their impressive ceiling. It took a while for it to unlock but, when it did, Milwaukee made history.