The Miami Heat have beaten Milwaukee Bucks twice… without a full squad

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives to the basket against Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat have managed to beat the league-best Milwaukee Bucks twice this season, but here’s the kicker. They’ve never been fully healthy in doing so.

The Miami Heat got the best of the Milwaukee Bucks in their most recent matchup. Even more astonishing to some than that, the Heat not only made Giannis Antetokounmpo look normal in the process, but they also reduced his sidekick in Khris Middleton to nothing more than a spot-shooting roleplayer.

The Miami Heat got the job done on Monday with an inspired defensive effort, one that should help them navigate a potential collision course with these very same Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference playoffs. While the Bucks know what the Heat will bring and/or try to do at this point, as they’ve faced them twice this season, the Heat still have a trick up their sleeves as the old adage goes.

When thinking about the two contests between the teams this season, there is a common factor and although not among common factors. Confusing, we know, but let us explain. A Heat guy or two has been hurt in both matchups, but not the same guy or guys in either.

In either matchup this season, the Miami Heat haven’t fielded or floored their usual unit. When you think about Monday’s matchup in Miami, the Heat were not only without Tyler Herro, but they were also without their seven-footer in Meyers Leonard. While they both have been out quite some time with lower-body injuries, their shooting is definitely being missed while Leonard’s size would have surely come in handy against either of the Lopez Twins and the Greek Freak.

When thinking about the first matchup in Milwaukee, another Heat win as we are so joyous to remind you of, the Miami Heat’s best player didn’t play. While he will call Bam Adebayo that guy and while he may be right from an overall raw talent/athleticism perspective, Jimmy Butler is the Miami Heat’s best player. He was not present to open the season due to the birth of his daughter, which included their game at Fiserv Forum.

So, while many will say that the Milwaukee Bucks have learned and seen all that they need to see to make the proper adjustments for this Miami Heat team when and if they see each other down the road in the playoffs, I would argue that they haven’t. While they may have many reasons why this might be so, this one on why they can’t be and won’t will always trump all others.

They have never seen this Heat team at full capacity, full health, and fully deployed against them or their strategies. It’s hard to prepare or practice for something that you haven’t achieved, such as success against the Miami Heat this season for Milwaukee.

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It will be exponentially harder for the Bucks to prepare for something that they’ve never even experienced. That is a fully healthy, calibrated, and focused Heat team that knows they’ve beaten this team without full health and fully confident that they can get it done when everyone is right. Oh deer, this should be fun to watch.