It was a strange ending with lots of fouls, in which Bucks almost forced overtime, even though they had a nine-point deficit with 1:56 to go. Several fouls, three-pointer followed by an and-one, and some poor choices Miami’s players had in the attack brought the Bucks to 144-all. But then Jimmy Butler saved the day.
The veteran guard managed to draw a foul from Giannis with the tie expiring, earning a chance to decide the game from the free throws without anyone besides him. Even though he needed just one basket, Butler scored both, giving his team a two-game lead in the series, something only a few could foresee.
Mike Budenholzer and the entire Bucks’ team were very disappointed with the way Wednesday’s game ended, and all of them criticized the referees’ decisions. By the way, 51 fouls were called during this event.
The Heat took the lead at the end of the first period, and kept it throughout the entire clash. It was mostly a double-digit difference around 10 points, but without any additional run that might have solved the game.
Butler had just 13 points, with six assists, three steals and was 3-for-8 from the field. Goran Dragic had a team-high, with 23 buckets. The Slovenian has been playing like possessed in the playoffs. Dragic nailed four threes, had five boards and four dimes.
Bam Adebayo scored 15 points, with nine boards, Jae Crowder 16, six rebounds and four threes, while Duncan Robinson ended the game with 13. Tyler Herro delivered 17 points, with five boards and four assists.
With the Bucks, Giannis led the way with 29 points and 14 boards, 10-for-18 from the field. Khris Middleton scored 23, had 8 dimes, six rebounds, missing just one of his 12 free throws.
Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe both had 16 each, and both recorded seven rebounds. George Hill collected 14. Even though Milwaukee outrebounded the Heat and had 17 offensive boards, they couldn’t use that. On the other side, the Bucks made just seven three-pointers, while Miami nailed 17.
The Bucks are in a critical situation, especially after such a controversial ending. This could be a morale-killer for them if they don’t forget tonight’s closure right away.
Game 3 is set for this Friday.