The Milwaukee Bucks saw their historic streak of scoring 100 points in a game end at 83 games against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, but still got a 93-85 win.
They would not be nearly as lucky against the Miami Heat.
Bucks move to 0-2 against the Heat
The Bucks fell 105-89 on the road to the Heat on Monday, and it wasn’t exactly close. After a back-and-forth first half, the Heat built a double-digit lead midway through the third quarter and never relinquished it.
MVP frontrunner Giannis Antetkounmpo had one of his worst games of the season, tying a season low with 13 points on 6-of-18 shooting. He still added 15 points and three assists, but it’s hard for the Bucks to beat top teams when he and fellow All-Star Khris Middleton combine to shoot 10-for-34 from the field.
Stopping Antetkounmpo seemed to be priority No. 1, 2 and 3 for a Heat defense led by Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Andre Iguodala.
Heat defense gave Giannis all he could handle.— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 3, 2020
Season-low 13 points for the Greek Freak 🔒 pic.twitter.com/9ixj69R4IG
On the offensive end for the Heat, six different players scored in double-digits, led by Butler’s 18.
Antetkounmpo responded by bowling over Dragic on the next possession.
Goran Dragic caught George Hill with a knee, then on the next possession Giannis ran into Dragic with Hill still down. pic.twitter.com/COHX49BvcJ— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 3, 2020
The loss is the Bucks’ ninth of the season, which remains quite impressive. However, the team that has dominated the NBA might have to face an uncomfortable question.
Are the Heat going to be a problem for the Bucks?
So, the Bucks are 52-9. They clinched the playoffs earlier than anyone this playoff era. They have Antetokounmpo.
And yet, being 0-2 against the Heat is going to start a lot of chatter about the Bucks being potentially vulnerable to the Heat in the playoffs. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the Bucks have lost earlier than expected in the playoffs to a deep, defensively focused team with a veteran star at wing and a rising big man.
However, while focusing on the head-to-head matchup is tempting, focusing on a two-game sample size over the 59 others the Bucks have played would probably create an over-reaction.
The Heat have certainly earned the right to be publicly confident about their chances, but the Bucks are still the clear favorite in the East. And don’t even start thinking that the MVP race might be getting too close for comfort for Antetokounmpo.
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