The Miami Heat are coming off of an impressive 4 game sweep of the Indiana Pacers, while the Milwaukee Bucks ousted the Orlando Magic 4-1 in 5 games. The Heat went 2-1 against the Bucks this season. Each team has two all- stars in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo for the Heat, while Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton were all-stars for the Bucks. Both the Bucks and the Heat rank in the top 10 offenses in the league at 8th and 7th respectively. The Bucks average a league leading 118.7 points per game while the Heat averaged 115 per game. The Heat are the 2nd best 3 point shooting team in the shooting it at better than 37% from the arc. The Bucks are the number 1 ranked defense in the NBA. The Heat meanwhile ranked 12th in defense. This should be quite the semi-finals match up.
The key question of this series is whether 3rd year Miami big man Bam Adebayo can defend reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis aka the Greek Freak is averaging 25 points per game against the Heat this season. Bam Adebayo is thus far averaging a mere 13 points per game against the Bucks. In order for Miami to pull the upset that 7/15 ESPN analysts picked to happen, Bam Adebayo must come up with at least 18 to 22 points per game for the Heat. Miami must also gangbuster numbers from small forward shooting guard Jimmy Butler. Butler is thus far averaging 18 points per game along with 7 assists against the Bucks. Butler needs to score in the 20’s in order for Miami to win this series. The Heat will also need a lot of help from veteran point guard Goran Dragic and three point marksmen Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. The Bucks meanwhile will need to run Miami’s shooters off of the 3 point line and will have to keep Adebayo off the glass. In order to win the series, the Bucks will need solid scoring from Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Brook Lopez. Wesley Matthews is going to have to dig deep in guarding Jimmy Butler. Middleton is a averaging a solid 23 points per game against the Heat. Look for Middleton to use his height and strength to also post up on Miami’s shorter guards and forwards. Another key match up will be at point guard between Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe and Miami’s Goran Dragic. Each will look to out duel the other.
Who wins this series will come down to which teams does a better job of guarding the 3 and which duo of all-stars will outplay the other. Miami’s biggest problem will be defending the Greek Freak, the Bucks biggest problem with be defending Miami’s relentless 3 point barrage. Both of these teams are both solid on offense and defense. This series has all the makings of something special. For Miami, Butler and Adebayo are going to have to be sensational. For the Bucks, Giannis is going to have to stay out of foul trouble and make sure that he involves his teammates on the offensive end. The Bucks on defense cannot let Miami put on a shooting clinic nor can they allow for Butler and Adebayo to explode. The Heat meanwhile, have to get Giannis in foul trouble early and do their very best to keep him away from the rim.
All in all, this should be a great series to watch and expect to last for a while because neither of these teams are an easy out.
Enjoy the games!