Bucks Blaze Past Heat to Clinch Top Seed


Time is fickle. When the work computer reads 4:59, she seems to last foreeeever! When the Bucks are on a 20-0 run against the Heat, however, she’s gone in two seconds. Bam Adebayo seemingly ended any suspense with a buzzer-beating three to place the halftime lead at 73-56. The deficit was somehow an improvement, with Miami up 23 earlier.

First Punches

Make no mistake: even without Jimmy Butler, who didn’t play Thursday, Miami is a dangerous opponent. They have a winning culture, hit threes and free throws, and take no nonsense. Their math may be Space Jam quality, but their point is strong– the Heat can victimize Milwaukee’s weaknesses.

In the movie, of course, Michael Jordan gives an inspiring speech, and the Loony Tunes come back from down 40. Realistically, 24 minutes only allows so many points. However, there was a chance. Perhaps Miami would come out without the same focus in the second half. AlthoughΒ sometimes having off nights (Thursday wasn’t one), Khris Middleton never loses his concentration. He drew a foul on Bam and turned it into two free points. Then, he nailed a three. The Bucks had thrown a small counter-jab. And here’s the cruel truth about being way ahead with plenty of basketball left: Mother Time slows down.

Bully Ball

Regression to the mean hit Miami hard as their threes fell less rapidly. Milwaukee took the lead, overcoming the 17-point hold in less than seven minutes! Of course, Erik Spoelstra is too talented of a coach to let his team quit. The Heat surged with a counter-run, reclaiming a nine-point lead with 10:23 left in the game. Further, Giannis went to the bench with five fouls. Unfortunately for Miami, Khris, with 33 points and a +/- of +30, chiseled at the gap.

Soon the Bucks led by four, but the dastardly (yet, yes, very talented) Duncan Robinson hit a downtown bomb. With 4:58 left in the game, Jae CrowderΒ gave his team another lead, 111-110, with a layup. Then, the east’s soon-to-be top seed concentrated to the point of colossal destruction.

20-0 Wipeout

Brook Lopez hit two free throws, then Giannis made a freakish move. (For the record, he doesn’t believe in scoreboard equality!)

Quickly, Bucks Lead has a word on luck. Ever hear a fan say, “aw (bleep), that was a lucky play?” “Luck” is the manifestation of success from years of smart work and focus towards an honorable, unselfish goal. Middleton’s two banked-in shots weren’t good “luck,” but rather fortune smiling on a hometown hero.

The Bucks scored 20 points in four minutesΒ to finish Miami. The game lasted 2.5 hours, but the Bucks needed just 15.3 seconds to dribble out the clock officially. The final whistle timed out Toronto’s application for the top seed. What does the victory mean?

Lacing Up Sneakers

The Bucks still have four games left, so now Mike Budenholzer can mix starter minutes liberally. The Bucks don’t want to lose their mojo, but they mercifully lifted the pressure from nearly three straight clinch-foiling losses. Milwaukee has a favorable matchup with Brooklyn or Orlando to start the postseason and could then potentially play Miami again. For now, Giannis and Khris made an Eastern Conference statement: the final horn is about to destroy a 46-year castle of obstructing glass.

Follow us on Twitter @BucksLead for the latest Bucks news and insight.


About Jeffrey Newholm

"Jammin Jeff" Newholm had been a basketball fanatic since his high school days, and remained a casual fan as a student in Whitewater. Wishing to check in as an active participant, he also completed a writing certificate program at UWM. He loves seeing Bucks games more than any other activity in hometown Milwaukee and especially screaming really really loudly to get someone to miss a free throw. Twitter: @JeffreyNewholm

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