Even though they opened the match slowly, allowing the league-leading team at the end of the regular part of the campaign to have a double-digit edge, the Heat bounced back and in the final three quarters, displaying a magnificent performance on both ends of the floor.
Jimmy Butler destroyed the Bucks, dropping 40 points on their defense, and showing why he is one of the best players in the league. He would score seven straight points during the middle of the last sequence, making a run of his own, which saw the Heat pulling away from the Bucks, and solving this one.
Yet, the contest began in a totally different manner with the Bucks harassing the rivals in the starting 12 minutes. They would outscore Miami 40-29, hitting six threes in eight shots, and with Brook Lopez delivering 11 buckets in that period. It seemed in those moments, that Heat doesn’t have the power to stop anything in defense. That would change pretty soon.
Spoelstra’s team began showing a high-class defending until the end of the game, limiting the no.1 favorite for the title to 23 points maximum in one quarter.
As we said, Butler had 40, 13-of-20, missing one of his 13 free-throw attempts and adding four boards as well. This was his personal best since coming to Florida. Goran Dragic scored 27, 9-of-15, with six rebounds and five assists.
Bam Adebayo was superb, and his contribution was massive here. The strong center added 12 points, and 17 boards, delivering six assists too. Tyler Herro scored 11.
On the other side, Khris Middleton had a team-high 28 points, with six boards and five assists. Brook Lopez ended the night with 24, but having just one rebound, while Kyle Korver scored 11.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was below the expectations with 18 buckets. He did grab 10 rebounds and had 9 assists, yet that didn’t improve the overall impression, which was that the reigning MVP played below his possibilities. Plus he was pretty bad from the line, making just four of his 12 shots.
Overall, the entire Bucks’ team was terrible in that category, 14-of-26, while on the other hand, the Heat missed just two of their 27 tries.
Up next, Game 2 is set for this Wednesday.