15 thoughts on the Heat’s stunning win to eliminate the Bucks

Apr 26, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives against Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) during game five of the 2023 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 26, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives against Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) during game five of the 2023 NBA Playoffs at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Miami Heat beat the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime to eliminate the No. 1 seed in the East and advance to the second round. Here are 15 thoughts from a stunning Heat win:

1. Amazing.

2. The Heat came back from 16 points down in the fourth quarter and Jimmy Butler uncorked another classic performance to beat the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in overtime, 128-126.

3. The Heat will face the New York Knicks in the next round. Game 1 is on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. But that’s in a few days. Way too much to get to from this one…

4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crazier sideline-out-of-bounds play than the one the Heat ran with 21. seconds left in regulation. Down two, Gabe Vincent walked to the sideline to inbound the ball. In front of him? Towering Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is listed as eight inches taller than Vincent but, realistically, it’s probably more. Vincent backs up as close to the sideline seats as possible to create space, the official gives the signal, and Vincent lobs up a pass to the opposite block. There’s where Butler catches the ball and tips it up, while getting dragged down by Pat Connaughton. Somehow, the ball doesn’t even touch rim. Swoosh. Tie game. We’re going to overtime.

5. Butler demanded that coach Erik Spoelstra run that play — versions of which they’ve called at the end of several games this season — because of how closely Jrue Holiday was guarding him. Butler knew that Holiday wouldn’t go under a screen or try to cheat, and that he had no choice but to trail behind Butler. He knew that would give him the space he needed to get into position for the final shot.

6. Butler’s final tally: 42 points on 17 of 33 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 46 minutes.

7. Here’s Butler’s averages for the series: 37.6 points per game on 59.7% shooting, 6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.8 steals.

8. This ranks among the greatest performances in a playoff series in Heat franchise history. Up there with Dwyane Wade’s 2006 Finals masterpiece (34.7 points on 46.8% shooting, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.7 steals) and LeBron in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals vs Boston (33.6 points on 52.7% shooting, 11 rebounds and 3.9 assists).

9. Because of Butler, the Heat become just the sixth eighth seed to beat a one seed, something that hasn’t happened since the No. 8 Grizzlies beat the No. 1 Spurs in 2011.

10. Back to Vincent. Not only did he deliver a pass that would make Patrick Mahomes blush… but also, with 8.4 seconds to go, Heat down four, Vincent brought the ball up court, pulled up and nailed a 3-pointer to keep Miami’s hopes alive. Vincent in this game made the second-most important shot and the most important pass. His final stat line (22 points on 4 of 23 shooting, six assists) barely illustrates his impact in this one.

11. Let’s talk about Bam Adebayo. His left hamstring has been bothering him for a few days and it’s required around-the-clock treatment. Based on what he’s told us, to even be out there is a credit to his toughness. It’s also a reason why he struggled to make shots coming into Wednesday’s game (38.5% on 13 attempts in the last two games) and went 8 of 20 tonight. But after another quiet first half, Adebayo came alive in the second, scoring 13 points in the last two quarters and overtime. More than anything, though, Adebayo’s defense on Giannis was vital. He picked up Giannis early in the shot clock and forced him into tough shots. After finishing the first three quarters with 29 points, Giannis was limited to just four points on 1 of 9 shooting in the fourth quarter while the Heat were making their comeback.

12. Bam was also extremely important as a rebounder and passer. He ended up with a triple-double (20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists). His two-man game with Butler was central to Miami’s comeback. Butler scored 12 straight points to bring the Heat from down 108-99 to tied at 111 with 1:56 left. Of those 12 points, Adebayo assisted on 10 of them. Their two-man game worked, with Adebayo facilitating from the nail and Butler cutting every which way.

First here:

Then here, to cut the Bucks’ lead to 111-105.

Then again to draw within four.

And finally on the 3-pointer to tie the game.

13. The Heat came into this game intent on winning and ending the series. It would have been easy enough to roll over. After all, the Bucks were back in Milwaukee and on the ropes. A team in the Bucks’ position — and with their talent — wins this game 99 times out of 100. But the Heat were out for blood. Particularly Butler. With just over 20 seconds left, Heat down two, Butler bolted off an Adebayo screen, rose up and attempted a 3-pointer to take the lead. He missed it, but this was all the evidence you needed to know that Butler didn’t have plans of playing the Bucks again in Miami.

14. “He competes to win,” Spoelstra said. “That’s a different language. And he’s desperate, and urgent, and maniacal, and sometimes psychotic about the will to try to win…and that’s why he is us and we are him.”

15. It’s that level of urgency that carried the Heat to comeback wins over the last two games and to a win in this series. The Knicks are next.