The Miami Heat are heading toward an early exit from the postseason. The Milwaukee Bucks have dominated them in every measurable way — mentally, physically, strategically, on and off the court — over the first three games of their best-of-seven playoff series.
The Bucks will look to close them out on Saturday in Miami. The darlings of the Orlando bubble are on life support even as Jimmy Butler clings to hopes of a historic comeback. Meanwhile, Milwaukee sought out Miami in the first round. They could have rested their starters at the end of the season and drawn a different opponent. Nope, they wanted a rematch with the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in 2020.
Now the Bucks are humiliating the Heat. The average margin of victory heading into Game 4 has been 21.6 points. That goes up to 31.5 points following the overtime thriller in Game 1. It hasn’t been close and that might be on purpose, per The Ringer’s Dan Devine.
The Bucks remember every indignation they faced after crumbling last postseason, every sling and arrow sent their way over the past eight months. They want to beat the living shit out of Miami—to break the Heat, to make the team that bullied them in the bubble tap out, in front of a national audience.
The numbers in this series are mind-numbing. The Heat have shot just 38 percent from the field as a team. They’re scoring just 93.2 points per 100 possessions against Milwaukee—nearly 10 points-per-100 worse than the postseason’s second-worst offense (which belongs to a Celtics team that isn’t very good and is without its second-best player).
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NBA History Siding Against Miami Heat
No NBA team has ever battled back from a 3-0 series deficit in the playoffs. And only three playoff series have ever forced a Game 7. To say the odds are stacked against the Miami Heat would be akin to saying there is no shortage of luxury cars on Ocean Ave. Game 4 is slated for Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“You take it one step at a time,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Everything can seem overwhelming if you look at the whole big picture, but you take it one step at a time. We’re capable of playing good enough to win a game and that’s all our focus has to be right now.”
Added Butler: “We control what we can control and that’s how we play. And that’s how we prepare. And how we compete. We’re not too worried about what history says and all that good stuff, but we got our work cut out for us.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo Downplays ‘Easy’ Games
Don’t tell the Bucks that the first two games were easy. Despite winning by 29 points in Game 3 and 34 points in Game 2, they had to work hard on every possession. Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo credited the Bucks for staying focused and playing together.
“The last two games haven’t been easy,” Antetokounmpo told reporters after Game 3. “Obviously, we were up 30, but it’s not easy. … I’ll say this: I’ll say by us doing our job, I’m not surprised that we’re able to win a game because once we focus on ourselves, play together, have fun and be tough, good things are going to happen. And in these three games, good things have happened for us.”
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