Turns out, there was a reason the Milwaukee Bucks weren’t worried about a playoff rematch with the Miami Heat in Round 1 this year.
The last four games proved why.
Bryn Forbes scored 22 points, Khris Middleton had 20, Bobby Portis 13 and Jrue Holiday 11 for Milwaukee, which outscored Miami by 24 in the second half.
Bam Adebayo scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Miami, which got 18 points from Kendrick Nunn, 14 from Tyler Herro, 13 from Goran Dragic and a triple-double — 12 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists — from Jimmy Butler.
The Heat became the second team in this playoff format to go from sweeping in the first round one year to being swept in the first round the next. The only other team to endure that: the then-New Jersey Nets, who swept New York in 2004 and lost 4-0 to Miami in 2005.
GIANNIS. ANTETOKOUNMPO. <a href=”https://t.co/r4wPj01bPA”>pic.twitter.com/r4wPj01bPA</a>
Once Milwaukee grabbed the first three games, history said the result was inevitable. NBA teams with 3-0 series leads are now 141-0 all-time in those matchups, with these Bucks becoming the 88th of those teams to finish off matters with a sweep.
Their reward: a week off, at least.
The third-seeded Bucks won’t play again until at least next Saturday. Their East semifinals series against either second-seeded Brooklyn or seventh-seeded Boston will start on June 5 if the Nets advance in five games; in any other scenario, the Bucks will next play on June 7.
After a pair of Milwaukee romps by a combined 63 points in Games 2 and 3, this one immediately took on a different feel.
Yet there were signs that the Bucks had to like: Antetokounmpo was 1 for 7 with three fouls in the first half, Milwaukee had only two points off the first seven Heat turnovers, and despite all that, Miami’s lead was merely 64-57 at the break.
And, sure enough, the third quarter was all Milwaukee.
The Heat couldn’t make anything; they shot 8 for 24 in the quarter. Bobby Portis’ 3-pointer late in the third put Milwaukee up by 12, and the lead was 91-85 going into the fourth.
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