Have Miami Heat mastered blueprint to defend Giannis Antetokounmpo?

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 do something no other team has in the NBA this year, beat Milwaukee twice. Do they have the blueprint to stop the Freak?

When the Miami Heat played the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, the game had a lot of anticipation attached to it. This was more than likely due to Miami Heat being one of the best teams in the league, being one of the only 10 teams to beat the Bucks this season, and because Milwaukee was the absolute best team In the league coming into the game.

On Monday though, the Miami Heat had a great defensive game plan in place to stop the NBA’s reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo from propelling his team to a victory. Antetokounmpo looked lost and uncomfortable.

Miami’s game plan was different from any other game plan I’ve seen this year. Anytime that Antetokounmpo posted up or was about to attack the paint, Miami formed a wall and even had a player expand it at times to make sure Antetokounmpo got a different look on each and every possession.

Bam Adebayo played tremendous defense the whole game and was even better when guarding Antetokounmpo. Even though Adebayo was a stand out defensively, Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder, and Derrick Jones Jr all gave Antetokounmpo a run for his money at times.

They made it extremely hard for him to get comfortable with the ball in his hands. It was a great team effort, even seeing Goran Dragic come in to swipe at Antetokounmpo on occasion.

It was a brilliant move by Erik Spoelstra to mix up his coverages, while constantly giving him different types of defenders to beat. The Miami Heat not only walled him off, but they made the part of it that he faced different every time or as much as they could to keep him off balance, out of rhythm, or simply unable to get a beat on what he was looking at on a possession to possession basis.

Even though Adebayo didn’t have the best offensive night, he made sure that Antetokounmpo didn’t have a good night either. This was a really good win for Miami and especially considering that it saw them beating Milwaukee for the second time this year to remain undefeated against the East’s best.

Personally, I think this will be somewhat of a challenge for Mike Budenholzer, Milwaukee’s Head Coach. Budenholzer is one of those coaches who likes to stick to his game plans and doesn’t like to change his schemes, especially offensively.

If Miami were to play Milwaukee in the playoffs then they would have more than a puncher’s chances. It wouldn’t be quite 50/50, but it would be closer to 60/40 than any other set of odds.

Miami has developed sort of a blueprint, but like last year’s Toronto Raptors successfully showed, you have to have the personnel and patience to execute it. The blueprint is to build a wall and constantly manipulate the panel of the wall that The Freak is to encounter on each different possession.

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This means that you use a wall of players, but ensure that they know that a different guy should voluntarily step out to show each time. This plan, Miami’s swarming defense, and Budenholzer’s stubbornness is quite the recipe for Miami to potentially cook up an Eastern Conference playoff upset. Deer stew anyone?