There are a lot of ways to interpret Game 1 between the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks. We won’t see another 5-of-31 performance from three in this series from the Bucks. On the other hand, we won’t see Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo combine to go 8-of-37. The Bucks prevailed 109-107 in overtime in a weird game with a lot of fluky occurrences.
That leaves us wondering what the two teams have in store for Game 2 on Monday night. Milwaukee is -4.5 at Bookmaker Sportsbook with a total of 222.5. Game 1 had a line of 5.5 and a total of 227. Adjustments have been made in the betting markets, but have the adjustments been too big in nature? Let’s evaluate.
The reality of the situation is that the Heat should be happy about what transpired in Game 1. They failed to come away with the win, but likely saw the worst performance that they are going to see from Jimmy Butler, who did send the game to overtime with a layup at the horn, but it was one of only four makes for him in the game. He was 4-of-22 shooting, but did manage 17 points on the strength of seven free throws.
The Heat only shot 36.4% from the floor overall, as they were just 16-of-49 on two-point shots. Miami did sink 20 three-pointers in 50 attempts, though, which was a huge 3P Rate for them. During the regular season, 43.2% of their field goal attempts were threes, but they cranked it up to north of 50% in Game 1.
It worked, but also a team that shot under 36% from three shot 40% in Game 1 and it still wasn’t enough. Goran Dragic had 25 off the bench in the losing effort and Duncan Robinson, a 40.8% three-point shooter, was 7-of-13 beyond the arc. Butler and Adebayo were bad. Dragic and Robinson were good. It was nice to see some secondary scoring from the Heat, but their primary guys simply have to be better.
That would be the focus heading into Game 2. It seems clear that Miami is going to try to shoot over the top of the Milwaukee defense. It is far from a bad approach. The Bucks were 29th in 3P% defense at 38.4% during the regular season and surrendered the 40% rate in Game 1. Miami just needs Butler and Adebayo to be more involved in the fun.
The Bucks got lucky to win Game 1, but some of the things that happened likely won’t be seen again. For example, Milwaukee was 5-of-31 from three. That means that Miami outscored Milwaukee by 45 points on three-point shots and still lost the game. The Bucks also left 13 points out there at the free throw line, including a 6-of-13 performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 26 points, but it was an ugly 26 points. Giannis was a 68.5% free throw shooter during the regular season.
The Bucks were fourth in 3P% during the regular season at 38.9%, so their Game 1 performance was truly a significant outlier. In fact, the Bucks were 15 spots higher than the Heat in terms of 3P%, but got outscored 60-15 on threes. Yeah, that probably won’t happen again. Only three players for the Bucks hit a trey. Six different Heat players made a three.
Milwaukee had 12 fast-break points to just two for Miami. That means that the Heat aren’t going to get a lot of easy buckets. They’ll have to work for everything that they get and that means sharing the ball around the perimeter quite a bit. Milwaukee missed a bunch of shots and still wound up with a significant edge on the glass.
The Bucks do have a weakness at defending corner threes and Miami exploited it in Game 1. It’ll be interesting to see how much Milwaukee adjusts to sell out on the perimeter. Opponents made nearly 45% of their corner threes against the Bucks. That was a shot that Miami took a lot during the season, but shot only 36.1% on, which ranked 26th.
Heat vs. Bucks Free Pick
The line moving down on this game is an overreaction to what we saw in Game 1. The Bucks may have only won by two, but a lot of outliers took place in this game that should even out in Milwaukee’s favor on Monday night. The number of -4.5 is too low as far as I’m concerned.
Pick: Milwaukee Bucks