Milwaukee fought to the last minute but still saw its season come to end Tuesday night in Orlando.
Playing without an injured Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks gave Miami a run before falling 103-94 in Game 5, handing the Heat a 4-1 series victory.
Milwaukee got within four at 91-87 with 2:05 left but could get no closer as the bid for the franchise’s first NBA title since 1971 was thwarted much earlier than anyone expected. The Bucks were the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the second-straight season but failed to get as far as they did a year ago when they made the conference finals.
The second quarter proved to be the Bucks downfall. After taking a nine-point lead into the quarter, Miami outscored Milwaukee 33-18. It was similar to the Game 3 loss where the Bucks blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead and lost by 15, although they had more time to recover this time and did so. Still, it wasn’t enough as their championship drought reached 49 years.
Antetokounmpo was ruled out before the game with an ankle injury, leaving it up to Khris Middleton and company to extend the season. After scoring 36 in the Game 4 win, Middleton had a game-high 23 points. However, it took him 25 shots to get it and he fouled out in the final minute.
Donte DiVincenzo had 17 points, while Brook Lopez chipped in 15. But as a team, Milwaukee shot just 36.3 percent from the field and a miserable 27.3 percent (9-for-33) on 3-pointers.
Miami didn’t shoot it much better from beyond the arc (35.5 percent), but they did shoot 47.9 percent overall. The only reason the game was close was due to a series-high 21 turnovers.
The Heat were paced by 17 points a piece from Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic. West Allis, Wis. product Tyler Herro had 14 points and Miami was +23 with him on the floor.
Milwaukee’s focus now shifts to the offseason, including difficult questions around the future of Antetokounmpo, and in turn, the franchise.