Prior to Game 1, which is scheduled to take place on May 22 at 2 p.m. ET in Milwaukee, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer and a few guards revealed their thoughts on the upcoming matchup, all mentioning the one aspect of the game which could derail their chances of winning: Three-pointers.
While the Heat’s obvious threats include the two-way talents of All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the Bucks know that they can’t contain Miami’s sharpshooter Duncan Robinson, it will be impossible to come out of this series victorious.
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Bucks guard Pat Connaughton is keeping his eye on Robinson. Connaughton said, “I think defensively, it’s about that mental focus against the Heat, because of how much they move, because they’ve got guys like Duncan Robinson, who you’re so worried about shooting threes, he’s going to get a back-door layup here or there. And that’s what we want to make sure, we’re not giving away both.”
“It comes down to taking away something, but definitely guarding the paint,” Connaughton continued. “That’s where our defense starts and we want to make sure we make everything else difficult from there on out.”
Bucks guard Khris Middleton also spoke about the importance of defending Robinson. “It’s a tough job. He does a great of moving without the ball, using the screens the right way. You can’t cheat. You’ve got to try to stay locked into him, because he’s such a great shooter on the move and spot up.”
“We start with the paint; you build from there,” Budenholzer said of his team’s defensive approach, as reported by Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman. “I mean, every time a guy hits two or three in a row, or a team hits 15 a quarter, we’re pulling our hair out. It’s the beauty and the beast of coaching. You have things you believe in, and you’re tested every night, every day.”
Budenholzer knows the Bucks have their work cut out for them when it comes to the Heat, but is excited about the challenge.”Every night guys are making threes and different shots. But when they’re making layups, you’re pulling your hair out, too. It’s a great balance. It’s a great thing to try to figure out.”
The Bucks & the Heat Are the Worst in the League Defending Against 3-Pointers
While no other NBA team has given up more three-point attempts than Milwaukee, the second-worst team in giving up three-point attempts is Miami. Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman pointed out some sobering facts about the Bucks and the Heat when it comes to shooting beyond the line:
The Heat shot .373 in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals against the Bucks, to Milwaukee’s .327, with the Heat winning the series 4-1. And this season, the Bucks shot .457 to the Heat’s .384 on 3-pointers, in taking the season series 2-1.