This past Sunday the Miami Heat went into Milwaukee and stole Game 1 against the Bucks. Miami did its job and got one game on the road, that’s really all you can ask for from an away team, let alone an eighth seed.
Now, it’s only one game, and the Bucks have been there before so we all should expect them to come out and play better for Game 2. Will Milwaukee come out and make any adjustments or stand pat and dare Miami to shoot well from 3-point range again (after shooting 60% in Game 1)?
I don’t expect Milwaukee to change much of its game plan. Head coach Mike Budenholzer has been known to stick to his scheme and not make many big adjustments throughout a series. In this instance, he’s unlikely to deviate from his drop coverage and will continue to rely on Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is hopeful to return for Game 2 after leaving Game 1 early with a back injury.
But, with Tyler Herro breaking his hand, I could see Budenholzer making some minor tweaks. Miami has a hard time creating offense for itself. With Herro out of the mix, the Bucks could double Jimmy Butler more aggressively, make him pass and make somebody else score. I expect Milwaukee to trap Butler more or even throw Giannis Antetokounmpo on him at times.
This is going to be a big series for Bam Adebayo. We saw in the 2021 playoffs that Milwaukee’s defense got in his head. Even though Adebayo had a good game on Sunday, there were still times he looked indecisive. That elbow jumper against Milwaukee’s drop coverage will be there for Adebayo all game.
Then there’s the shooting. The Heat have been one of the league’s worst 3-point shooting teams this season. Even though Miami shot 60% from 3 last game, it would be out of character for them to shoot that well from distance in Game 2 on Wednesday.
That’s the bet if you’re Budenholzer, anyway. The Bucks will most likely stick to their larger game plan, but might add some wrinkles like doubling Butler and making Adebayo be a more assertive scorer (something Heat fans want as well).
The Heat took Game 1 and are now in the position to be chased in the series. The pressure in on the Bucks to tie this series before it heads to Miami on Saturday. ♦