Miami Heat Ready to ‘Box Out’: Furious at Bucks ‘Crashing the Boards’

Heat vs Bucks

Getty Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks makes a basket in overtime against Goran Dragic #7 of the Miami Heat during Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat at Fiserv Forum on May 22, 2021.

Game 3 of the playoffs between the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks is primed to be the most intense game of the series thus far. The Heat need to win to stay alive, as it’s nearly impossible to come back from 0-3.

Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson said prior to Thursday night’s game, that Milwaukee’s relentless style of play is “a little bit unorthodox,” Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman reported. “On some possessions, they literally crash everybody. So you’ve got to adjust there first.”

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“And obviously we’ve watched it over and over,” Robinson continued. “Of course, from there, it’s just going to require big-time efforts. And we all acknowledge that and know what it is, and know that we’re capable.”

Veteran Goran Dragic’s comments mirrored Robinson’s assessment. “I mean, first of all, they are big,” Dragic said. “You’ve got Middleton, you’ve got Lopez, you’ve got Giannis, you’ve got Portis. Even the two-guards, Connaughton and DiVincenzo, they’re crashing the boards.”

“So it’s not only on the big guys, [DeWayne] Dedmon and Bam [Adebayo] to box out,” Dragic said. “Basically, it’s all five guys. We need to box out and get the rebound and from there on, develop our offense.”

Heat vs Bucks

GettyDuncan Robinson #55 of the Miami Heat looses the ball in the first quarter against Brook Lopez #11 of the Milwaukee Bucks during Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at Fiserv Forum on May 22, 2021.

Like Dragic and Robinson, Heat guard Kendrick Nunn is also aware of the Bucks ability to crash the board. “That’s been a point of emphasis,” Nunn said. They crash, obviously, like four guys. You can’t leak out. You’ve got to go crash for that rebound. And that’s been big for them. So we’ve got to limit them, box their guys out and grab rebounds.”

“If you want to win, you’ve got to box out, and simple as that,” Nunn added. “Obviously, we knew that they were crashing. But obviously they’re doing it with more emphasis.”

Heat’s Tyler Herro was singing the same tune on May 27. “They’re crashing, at times, all five guys,” Herro said. “We just had to make an adjustment to really rebound and crash the glass hard, play more physical than them.”

“I think it kind of changes our mindset,” he said. “We like to play in transition, but these offensive rebounds and these second and third opportunities that they’re getting on their end are starting to hurt us. So we just have to make that a real, conscious adjustment.”

Miami Needs Their All-Stars to Turn Up

While the entire team needs to be more aggressive to turn this series around, NBA analysts are calling out Jimmy Butler for failing to put up an All-Star level performance.

After Miami was torched by Milwaukee 132-98 in Game 2, First Take host Stephen A. Smith placed the blame squarely on Butler, who went 4-22 in Game 1 and a paltry 4-10 in Game 2.

“But the bottom line is, it’s your town!” Smith said. “Take over! Period! Number-one option! No passiveness! Here’s what stars do, stars make for what the rest of the team is lacking, to some degree. They make up for it.”

As for Bam Adebayo, his own teammate called him out for needing to be more aggressive.

Dragic said after losing Game 1, “I feel like he needs to be more aggressive… I think Bam has that quality, he can do it many ways, he can score may ways against him. So, we’re gonna have to watch the film and see how we’re going to attack them in the next game. Hopefully, we’re gonna make some changes.”

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