Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat came in prepared to contain the reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, in a tightly contested Game 1.
The second series in the NBA Playoffs Semis kicked off between the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams ensured an easy practice series with their first-round foes.
The Heat swept the Pacers 4-0 in a breezy fashion. On the flip side, Milwaukee gave up one game against the Orlando Magic but went on to win four straight matches. The two powerhouses in the East are evenly matched on paper. However, the Bucks have the ace with Giannis.
Despite this fact, the Miami Heat drew first blood in the skirmish in the series.
Jimmy Butler went bonkers
Butler has been known to be lethal in his playing mindset. During the prolonged break, he sent out hoops to his teammates that didn’t have a ring to practice with. He also reportedly worked out via video conferencing with his team. It seems like the hard work paid off. They looked spry during the NBA seeding games.
Also, they are turning heads with such a tight-knit offensive and defensive plays. This is particularly true for Jimmy Butler. In his first matchup with the Bucks this postseason, Butler scored a Playoff career-high of 40 points. He also did it at an efficient mark of 65% from the field. He even sank two rare but crucial three-ball during the game.
During the final stretch of the game, Butler scored 12 out of the 16 points. He also was locked in on defense, stealing the ball to seal the match finally. He said,
“I told my teammates I probably wasn’t going to pass the ball, I made a couple of shots, and they said ‘That’s fine with me.'”
Giannis had a hard time with the Heat’s defense
Antetokounmpo struggled against the Miami Heat’s defense. They threw an elite set of defensive players on him. No amount of switching provide Giannis the advantage he was seeking. Spoelstra made sure that Crowder, Adebayo, Butler, and Iguodala covered Giannis well.
As a result of this strategy, Antetokounmpo was held to an unusually poor game of just 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists. While these numbers look good, they are far from what the reigning MVP produces. Also, he turned the ball over six times, which proves the fact that the Heat’s defense on him is impeccable.
Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks will try to avoid a 2-0 hole on Thursday.
Image from Bleacher Report/ YouTube thumbnail