Miami Heat: Surviving weird season & Playoff rematch against Milwaukee

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) guards Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21)(Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports)
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) guards Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21)(Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Miami Heat
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) shoots over Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11)(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Miami Heat have a tall task before them, looking to pluck Milwaukee for the second year in a row.

In this year’s regular season, the teams played three times and Milwaukee won two of them, including one during the last week of the season that ironically set the stage for this matchup to occur. Unfortunately for Miami, Butler missed all three contests, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into any of the games.

This brings us to last year, when the Heat were major underdogs facing off against Milwaukee in the second round. The NBA took notice of the Heat during Game Two, when Jimmy Butler hit late game free throws to take a 2-0 series lead.

During Game Three, the Heat proved yet again to be a legitimate contender, as Milwaukee struggled to score late and were outscored, 40-13, in the fourth quarter, falling into a 0-3 hole. The Heat ended up winning the series in five games.

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Although it’s fun to think about last year’s success, this series could look nothing like the 2020 series. Not only did the Bucks drastically change their bench, but they also have a brand new backcourt.

Eric Bledsoe and Wesley Matthews have been replaced by Jrue Holiday and Donte Divincenzo. Although a team’s demise is hardly ever one player’s fault, trading Eric Bledsoe and his massive contract was a smart move for Milwaukee.

His play in the postseason dropped off dramatically, as he averaged a meager 11.8 points on 33.3% shooting and 21.4% from beyond the arc. Not only did Milwaukee get rid of a liability but they acquired an excellent pick and roll player in Jrue Holiday, so the late game scoring problem they had last season should be alleviated, significantly.

On top of that, Jrue is one of the better defenders in the league and even though he is a point guard, he has the size to match up against Butler. The Heat have changed a bit as well, losing starting forward, Jae Crowder, to the Phoenix Suns in free agency, thanks in part to Pat Riley trying to conserve cap space for the following summer (supposedly in the hopes to acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo).

As he’s since re-signed with Milwaukee, that looks a bit suspect now but either way, back to the series. Both teams will have at least two changes from last year’s starting lineup, with Goran Dragic coming off the bench now.

The Heat’s starting five will be most likely be Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, Trevor Ariza, and Bam Adebayo. The Bucks starting five will probably be Jrue Holiday, Donte Divincenzo, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez.

Another difference from last year is home court advantage. Even though the Bucks had the top seed in the East last year, that advantage was stripped away in the bubble.

Aaron Rodgers stated how he felt the series would’ve been different if the top seeded Bucks never lost that advantage. Let’s see how it comes into play this time around.