Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks head to Miami up 2-0 in their best-of-7 series against the Heat. (Photo by JB Autissier/Panoramic/Icon Sportswire)
- The Miami Heat return home hoping to play their way into their series with the Milwaukee Bucks
- Giannis Antetokounmpo has outplayed both Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in building a 2-0 lead
- Get the odds, preview, and pick below
Coming off back-to-back playoff flameouts, the Milwaukee Bucks are close to shaking at least a few of those demons.
They’re in Miami for Game 3 against the reeling Heat, trying to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-7 series after a 132-98 obliteration in Game 2.
The Heat look far from the squad that made the NBA Finals a season ago — and they’re deserving 2-point home underdogs in this one.
Bucks vs Heat Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Milwaukee Bucks||-2 (-110)||-126||Ov 226 (-110)|
|Miami Heat||+2 (-110)||+108||Un 226 (-110)|
Odds as of May 26th. Tip-off is Thursday at 7:30pm ET
Are the Heat Healthy?
Aside from Victor Oladipo, who’s done for the year after having surgery on his quad, Miami has everyone available. But that might not mean they’re totally healthy. Jimmy Butler, who’s battled all kinds of ailments this season, has looked nothing like the Jim-VP candidate that carried his team from a sluggish start to the sixth seed.
Jimmy Butler in the Bucks series:
-42 +/- (lowest on team) pic.twitter.com/fvgdqdSN2k
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 25, 2021
Tyler Herro, who battled foot and ankle injuries down stretch, logged just 18 minutes in Game 2.
The Bucks feature a relatively healthy squad: only Thanasis Antetokounmpo is out, with an avulsion fracture to his right patella tendon. He’ll miss at least the next two weeks.
Bucks vs Heat Projected Starting Lineups
|Jrue Holiday||PG||Kendrick Nunn|
|Donte Divincenzo||SG||Duncan Robinson|
|Khris Middleton||SF||Jimmy Butler|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||PF||Trevor Ariza|
|Brook Lopez||C||Bam Adebayo|
All-Around Deer Season
Giannis Antetokounmpo looks every bit the back-to-back MVP so far in this series. He bested his 26-point, 18-rebound, 5-assist and 3-steal Game 1 performance, going for 31 points, 13 rebounds, six dimes, three steals and a block in Game 2 — and that was merely the subplot of this game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded his 5th career playoff game with 30 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes or less. The only other player with more than one such game all-time is LeBron James (2 games) h/t @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/Ty6rQXLLh2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 25, 2021
The Bucks shot the orange out of the ball Tuesday night, drilling 15 three-balls in the first half to run the Miami out of the gym. They led by 26 after a quarter, with the lead ballooning to 30, with four Milwaukee players hitting at least two three-pointers. They finished with a franchise-best 22 hits in the game, on a blistering 41.5% clip.
BRYN FORBES CANNOT BE STOPPED
19 PTS on 7-8 shooting. Sheesh pic.twitter.com/mNgdDrNFDv
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 25, 2021
Bryn Forbes went 6-for-9 from deep, finishing with 22, while Pat Connaughton drilled five of his own. Six Bucks finished in double-digits. They’re averaging better than 120 points over the first two games, while holding Miami to 102.5 points on 38.1% shooting from the field.
DraftKings Promo for NBA Playoffs Gives Bettors Crazy 40-1 Odds on Any Team to Win
Heat Need Bounce-Back
If Miami is going to find their way back into the series, they’ll need their two all-stars to pick up their level of play. Butler has made almost zero impact. He has shot a brutal 8-for-32 in the series, a lowly 25% clip.
Bam Adebayo hasn’t fared much better, as Milwaukee is leaving him free to fire away in the midrange — an area where he has vastly improved, but lacks confidence in this series. Bam has totaled 25 points and 15 rebounds in two games, while shooting just 9-for-26 from the field.
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler continued to struggle to produce much on the offensive end in tonight’s blowout loss to Milwaukee
Bam speaks postgame…#HEATTwitter pic.twitter.com/mQ021TbnKq
— Bally Sports Florida & Bally Sports Sun (@BallySportsFL) May 25, 2021
If the creators aren’t making it happen, the shooters aren’t exactly bailing them out. Miami shot 8-for-28 from three-point range for the game, or two threes less than the Bucks hit in the first quarter. They rank last in the NBA Playoffs in field goal shooting.
What’s the Best Bet?
The Bucks have looked dynamite, but we’re an OT result away from this potentially being tied. The makeup of this Milwaukee roster appears different than teams past, but until they actually finish of the Heat, I would caution treading lightly. This was the exact same spot we were hailing Giannis and co a couple of seasons ago in the East Final against the Raptors.
But while they don’t have as much depth, they certainly possess more grit, with pickups like Jrue Holiday and PJ Tucker making Milwaukee’s defense tougher and adding more resolve to what many felt was part of their problem in previous failures.
Fitting then, that Miami’s resolve, often known as one of their great strengths, is what I’m banking on in Game 3. Expecting Miami to reel off four of five at this point is a lot to ask, yet for this one game, I expect Erik Spoelstra to pull out all the stops, with Butler and Adebayo producing their best games of the series and the Heat to climb back into this.
Pick: Heat +2 (-110)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.