It took overtime to get it done, but Milwaukee is up 1-0 in its best-of-seven series with Miami.
Khris Middleton hit a tough jumper over Duncan Robinson with .5 seconds left in the extra period to give the Bucks a 109-107 lead, and then Jrue Holiday blocked Jimmy Butler’s potential game-winning shot as the buzzer sounded Saturday at Fiserv Forum.
Milwaukee had chances to finish the game in regulation but were just 6-for-12 from the free throw line in the final 3:53. Giannis Antetokounmpo was 3-for-7 and that included getting called for a 10-second violation with just 1:06 left.
Those struggles allowed Miami’s Jimmy Butler a chance to tie the game in the final second and he did, beating Antetokounmpo off the dribble and getting a layup to go as time expired.
The box score was not overly pretty for the Bucks, especially when it came to shooting. The Bucks, a top-5 3-point shooting team in the league, made just 5 of their 31 attempts from beyond the arc, while Miami shot 40% (20-for-50). Milwaukee also only hit 60.6% (20-for-33) of its free throws, while the Heat were 15-for-19.
The Heat made 15 more 3-pt FG than the Bucks, but still lost.
That's the largest differential (+15) in 3-pt FG made in a playoff loss in NBA history.
It's the 2nd-largest differential in any game, regular season or playoffs (Knicks +16 at Heat on Jan. 27, 2012) pic.twitter.com/6tqIBlXlMc
The Bucks compensated by dominating inside the arc, where it hit on 56.9% of its shots and limited Miami to 32.7% shooting. In the end Milwaukee grinded enough, forcing 17 turnovers and getting some timely stops down the stretch to get a third win in four games against the Heat this year.
Middleton finished with a game-high 27 points, while Holiday had 20 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. Antetokounmpo had 26 points and 18 rebounds. The two-time MVP was temporarily sidelined in the fourth quarter with an elbow injury but was able to return. Brook Lopez finished with 18 points and eight boards.
Miami was paced by Goran Dragic’s 25 points, while Duncan Robison had 24 points, all of which came from beyond the arc. The Heat were done in by a rough night shooting by Butler (4-for-22) and Bam Adebayo (4-for-15).
The Bucks, which lost in five games to the Heat last September, never led in that series. They will take a 1-0 advantage into Game 2 on Monday night at Fiserv Forum.