En route to last year’s NBA Finals, the Miami Heat embarrassed the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and handed them a gentlemen’s sweep in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. This year, however, the Bucks are proving themselves to be a much tougher opponent.
The 2020-21 playoffs matched up the Heat and the Bucks once again, this time in the first round, and things aren’t going well for Miami so far. After getting edged out in Game 1 in overtime, the Heat also suffered a 98-132 blowout on Monday night.
The Bucks were dominant straight from the bat, pouring in 46 points in the first quarter alone, and were already 26 points ahead when the second period started. From that point on, Milwaukee kept adding to their lead while disrupting Miami’s comeback attempts with some excellent defense.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the best player on the court, scoring 31 points and grabbing 13 boards in just 31 minutes. Jrue Holiday dished 15 assists, while the Bucks also got great production from Bryn Forbes, who scored 22 off the bench.
The Heat, on the other hand, struggled to put points on the board the whole night. They didn’t have any player with more than 19 points, while their All-Star forward Jimmy Butler finished with just 10 points, four assists, and two rebounds.
The Heat will have a chance to respond on Thursday when the series travels to Miami.
The Western Conference part of the playoffs also saw a blowout. The Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 128-109 and tied the series 1-1 thanks to a monster night from their All-Star center Nikola Jokic.
Jokic also played 31 minutes but managed to do even more damage. He finished the night with 38 points, eight rebounds, and four assists. Michael Porter Jr. and Paul Millsap added 18 points, respectively.
Damian Lillard tried to keep the Blazers in the game as much as possible, but even his 42 points and 10 assists were not enough to make it close. The two teams will meet again on Thursday in Portland.