Bucks crush Miami again, on verge of sweeping Heat out of playoffs

Milwaukee is one win away from sweeping Miami out of the playoffs.

The Bucks got 22 points from Khris Middleton and 19 points and 12 assists from Jrue Holiday to beat the Heat Thursday night to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 17 points and 17 rebounds.

Milwaukee’s defense was the difference in Game 3. The Bucks held Miami to just 36 points in the first half, the fewest they’ve allowed in a half this season. It allowed Milwaukee to hold a 13-point lead at the half, something it extended to 26 by the end of the third quarter. The Heat shot just 37.6% from the field and only 28.1% from beyond the arc.

The Bucks didn’t shoot at the same level as Game 2 but it was more than enough. They were 13-for-36 from deep and shot 48.3% overall.

The bench was once again a factor, with the foursome of Bobby Portis, Bryn Forbes, Pat Connaughton and PJ Tucker combining for 36 points, including hitting eight 3-pointers.

Miami got 19 points from Jimmy Butler and 17 from Bam Adebayo in what was the worst home loss in Heat playoff history. The team has now been outscored by 63 points over the last two games.

Milwaukee did lose starting guard Donte DiVincenzo to a foot injury in the first half and he did not return.

After getting knocked out of the playoffs by Miami in five games last September, the Bucks can finish off a first-round sweep Saturday afternoon.