MILWAUKEE — A knack for overcoming adversity is a necessity for any team that considers itself a championship contender, so naturally the Milwaukee Bucks overcame the absence of star Giannis Antetokounmpo to secure a 138-122 victory over the Miami Heat; tying their first-round series at one game apiece.
With 25 made 3-pointers, the Bucks tied the NBA record for the most triples in a Playoff game. Coincidentally, the team set its previous franchise record for 3-pointers in a playoff game (22) during Game Two of a first-round matchup with the Miami Heat in 2021.
Following a quiet performance in Game One, center Brook Lopez came to life with a game-high 25 points on 12-of-17 from the floor. Milwaukee’s 3-point onslaught was enabled by an aggressive start from Lopez, who scored eight of the team’s first 13 points by pummeling the paint and attacking height advantages.
“It was mostly organic,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer explained after the game. “It was us moving the ball, us finding open guys, getting to good spacing, and Brook being available.”
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Of the seven players who played at least 20 minutes, Lopez was the only one to finish without a 3-pointer. That tone was set by All-Star combo guard Jrue Holiday, who took 10 threes and made four of them en route to a 24-point, 11-assist night.
He was matched by Pat Connaughton, who shot 6-of-10 from the three-point line for 22 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Consistent minutes have been hard to come by for the 6-foot-5 wing, who hadn’t played since April 4 coming into this contest.
A fan favorite in his own right, Connaughton lost minutes to Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder — two veteran forwards with the defensive tools and stature Milwaukee longed for. Yet with Antetokounmpo sidelined and a severe need for some energy off the bench, Connaughton delivered. 13 of his points came within 10 minutes of entering the game — all in the first half.
“For [Connaughton] to come in and give us that — the steal and the layup, all the threes, the hustle plays, the awareness defensively — you know, he’s kind of the ultimate teammate; the ultimate pro. It showed tonight,” Budenholzer said.
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In total, seven Bucks players finished in double-figures including Ingles (17 points, +28 off the bench), Khris Middleton (16 points, seven assists), Grayson Allen (16 points, 4 threes) and Bobby Portis (13 points, 15 rebounds, five assists).
For Miami, it was the Jimmy Butler show as usual. The former Marquette star finished with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. Despite the poor defensive showing from the Heat, their offense was relatively efficient at 53.6% from the field and 44.4% from deep.
The Milwaukee Bucks will travel to Miami for the next two games, which are currently set for Saturday, April 22 and Monday, April 24. You can tune into the action on 620 WTMJ or catch up after the fact with Bucks in 6:00 — a six-minute recap with exclusive sound and content from inside each Playoff game.
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