Here’s the big news from this game, in order, because there’s more than one big news.
- Milwaukee won, meaning the series now stands with Miami holding a 3-1 lead.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo played just 11 minutes in the game, and left with an ankle injury at the 10:17 mark of the second quarter.
What does #2 mean as far as #1 goes? Well, nothing in the immediate term, but as far as Game 5 and beyond if there is a beyond? We have no idea!
Here’s the really wild part about Giannis leaving and not returning early in the second quarter: Miami played their best basketball of the game while he was in the lineup for Milwaukee. It’s true! The Heat’s biggest lead of the game came in the first quarter when Tyler Herro connected on a layup to put Miami up 27-15 with 2:38 to go. Giannis wouldn’t leave the game for another four minutes of game time, and when he did leave, he had compiled 19 points and four rebounds. Antetokounmpo was absolutely ridiculous for the time he was in the game...... and it basically had absolutely no impact on what Miami was doing to the Bucks. Now, that’s not entirely true, as Giannis’ two free throws on the foul that was called along with his injury made it a 31-30 Miami lead, so clearly things started going well for Milwaukee there. BUT YOU GET MY POINT.
With Giannis out, it was like Milwaukee had been slapped in the face. They would eventually take their first lead of the game late in the second quarter, and then held a two point lead at halftime. Things are going better!
Khris Middleton ran wild in the third quarter, breaking a franchise record for points in a quarter with 21, and boy, that sure sounds great, and the broadcast sure went out of their way to make it sound pretty great. Here’s the thing: Miami outscored Milwaukee by five in the period even with Middleton going nuts. Sure, it’s neat that he did that, but the end result was Miami holding an 88-85 lead after three quarters. That’s not really what you want to happen when your best active player goes wild!
Things got worse for Milwaukee before they got better, as Goran Dragic connected on an alley oop from Duncan Robinson to put the Heat up 100-92 with 8:42 to go. Definitely not the kind of thing you want to happen after a big quarter from Middleton. But the Bucks fought back, and a stepback from Eric Bledsoe gave them the lead again at 101-100 with just under five minutes to go. It wouldn’t last, though, and with under a minute to go, Herro banged in a triple to put Miami in front, 107-106. Milwaukee couldn’t answer, but Miami couldn’t tack on. One last chance for the Bucks, which almost went completely sideways on them, but eventually Donte DiVincenzo drew a foul on a drive and split his freebies to knot the game and force overtime.
Miami had the early advantage in the extra session with a dunk from Jimmy Butler providing the first points of OT. The Bucks went to Middleton for their overtime scoring, and he got two in a row to put his squad up 111-109. Two free throws on a desperation heave at the end of the shot clock by Brook Lopez put Milwaukee up four, and while Herro had another monster triple to make the final seconds interesting, the game was over.
Middleton scored 36 points while playing a Bucks season high 47 minutes, and he added eight rebounds, eight assists, and two steals to force Game 5. Wesley Matthews connected on just one of his four long range attempts in 24 minutes to finish with three points and a rebound.
Over on the Miami side, Bam Adebayo was great with a 26/12/8 line. Jimmy Butler contributed 17 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Jae Crowder was lighting nets on fire, but he did miss his final three long range attempts to “only” go 6-for-12 from downtown to get 18 points to go with five rebounds and three assists.
Up Next: Game 5 is coming your way on Tuesday evening. It’s a 5:30pm Central time start and TNT will have the broadcast. If Antetokounmpo was questionable for Game 4, I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s doubtful at best for Game 5.