Observations and other notes of interest from 128-126 overtime NBA playoff win Wednesday night Milwaukee Bucks:
“Who saw this coming?”
– Jimmy Butler.
– Jimmy Playoffs.
– Regardless of whether he wants the nickname.
– And Erik Spoelstra.
– Because he doesn’t need a complete list.
– Or even the best of Bam Adebayo.
– So even without Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo, the Heat are moving on.
– And even Pat Riley and Andy Elisburg saw it coming.
– Because, as Spoelstra likes to say, the Heat have had enough.
– Because Gabe Vincent was enough.
– Because Kevin Love at the trade deadline was enough.
– Because how could it be anything but the Heat-Knicks?
– With Alonzo Mourning among those who appeared in Milwaukee on Wednesday.
– That’s what the playoffs do.
– They change the narrative.
– Which the Heat just did.
– And he’ll do it again Sunday at Madison Square Garden.
– That loss to the Hawks?
– It might have been for the best.
– Because Bucks at clutch time?
– Well, let’s just say they haven’t had the same experience as the Heat in that regard this season.
– As for Butler?
– Who dares to doubt now?
– Especially with even brighter lights to come.
– The Heat opened for the third straight game with a lineup of Adebayo, Love, Butler, Max Strus and Vincent.
– With the start, Butler passed Ron Harper for 70th on the NBA’s all-time playoff list.
– The Bucks started Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Grayson Allen again.
– Holiday opened up again defensively on Butler.
– Caleb Martin was the Heat’s first backup.
– Cody Zeller and Lowry followed together for eight deep.
– With Duncan Robinson and Haywood Highsmith then going 10 deep.
– Robinson’s appearance tied him with Ray Allen for 14th on the Heat’s all-time playoff list.
– Spoelstra talked before the game about the conditioning that has allowed Butler to reach this playoff level, offering a comparison to Udonis Haslem.
– “I have said this many times. I said this about UD the other day. The same goes for Jimmy: “He is us. We’re him,” Spoelstra said. “He’s all about what we believe in terms of conditioning and working and getting your body ready, all of that.”
– Spoelstra added: “This is not something that just lights up like people talk about. It’s a lot of training and work throughout the year, especially in the offseason.”
– The Bucks entered the game looking to become the first team since the Nuggets in 2020 to overcome a 3-1 series deficit, all while in the Disney World pandemic quarantine bubble.
– The last team to do it in a typical season was the Cavaliers against the Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals.
– The Bucks also faced becoming just the sixth No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 1 seed. 8 in a best-of-seven series.
– On the Heat’s attitude in the final game, Adebayo said: “I always say this is the hardest game to win.”
– But Adebayo said the Heat also came in with a lot of motivation.
– “We don’t want to give them any momentum, that’s the biggest thing,” he said.
– Asked about his approach to close games, Spoelstra said: “It’s all about finishing. It’s a finishing mentality.”
– As expected, Butler saw defensive coverage by Antetokounmpo.
– “Jimmy has faced a lot of different coverages throughout the season and part of his effectiveness is that he can play on the ball, off the ball, play the baseline, play the floor, whatever it takes. ” Spoelstra said.
– Butler’s first shot passed Kevin Johnson for 78th on the NBA playoff all-time list, and his sixth passed Maurice Cheeks for 77th.
– Butler’s first defensive rebound passed John Stockton for 100th on the all-time NBA playoff list.
– Lowry’s first 3-pointer moved past Scottie Pippen and Michael Finley for 23rd on the all-time NBA playoff list.
– Love’s first 3-pointer passed Dirk Nowitzki for 49th on the NBA playoff all-time list, and Terry Porter’s second tied him for 48th.
– Love’s first 3-pointer was the 150th of his playoff career.
– Vincent’s third assist passed Eddie Jones for 15th on the Heat’s all-time playoff list.