Shorthanded Heat dominate the Bucks on the road

Bam Adebayo, Nikola Jovic and Duncan Robinson stepped up to help the Miami Heat put together one of their most complete games of the season despite missing Jimmy Butler and others.
Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

It was a picture-perfect Tuesday night in the Miami Heat’s road matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, defeating the No. 3 team in the Eastern Conference standings, 123-97. The Heat were firing on all cylinders, having success on both ends of the floor, despite missing key players, Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier, and Josh Richardson. 

Why the Heat won

There was a level of urgency that Miami played with right from the tip-off. They had a 40-point first quarter and never trailed in the matchup. The Heat saw themselves winning this game before the contest even started. This is partially due to the game plan from head coach Erik Spoelstra, but the execution by the team was phenomenal. 

Miami led the game in nearly every major category, including assists, rebounds, steals, field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and turnover ratio. They flawlessly played Spoelstra’s scheme. The Heat kept the Bucks off the line, they dared Milwaukee’s role players to step up, and they played an exceptional game on the offensive end with 34 assists. 

In the first half, Miami had 20 assists on 27 made field goals. They didn’t make a mistake and they didn’t crumble in the second. This game should be on replay throughout the Heat’s locker room for the rest of the season. Holding a team with two superstars to under 100 points speaks volumes about how good the Heat can be when the puzzle pieces align. 

Stat of the game

There are a couple of stats that need to be put in the spotlight. The main one that’s going to grab the attention is the Bucks getting 11 free throw attempts (and just one in the first half). Milwaukee had trouble getting to the line with the Heat playing a technically sound defensive game. Damian Lillard recorded five points in the first half, while Giannis Antetekounmpo scored four points in the second half. 

Antetkoumepo averages 11 free throw attempts per game, the highest average in the league, but he was never able to make an appearance on the line versus the Heat. Milwaukee was also held to just three offensive rebounds for their starters and rotation players, leaving little opportunity to score. 

Another major stat for Miami was its 3-point shooting. Three players shot over 60% from 3, which is simply unheard of. Duncan Robinson shot 6 of 8 from beyond the arc (75%(, Kevin Love shot 5 of 7 (71.4%), and Nikola Jovic punched in 5 of 8 (62.5%). Miami’s 3-point shooting helped them keep a comfortable lead the whole game. 

Player of the game

Bam Adebayo has always found success against Milwaukee. He’s been able to sustain a player like Antetokoumpo in multiple matchups, and he always finds a way to contribute on the offensive end. In the Heat’s victory, he recorded a triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. 

There were multiple performances that stood out during the game, but Adebayo was the anchor. He was the facilitator, the leader, and the reason why the Heat were able to produce on both ends. Miami never gave Milwaukee a chance to get back in the game in the second half. The Heat dominated from buzzer to buzzer. 

A couple of other vital contributors for the Heat were Jovic with a career-high 24 points, Robinson with 23 points and Love with 19. It was a complete performance from the Heat in arguably their best game of the season. They'll try to repeat it Wednesday night in Philadelphia.