The Milwaukee Bucks dominated Game 2 against the Miami Heat, winning the game 132-98. It was a blowout from the get-go, as the Bucks took a commanding 46-20 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. A lot needs to change for Miami to get back into this series.
Game 1 was a much closer matchup, so we know the Heat are capable of competing against Giannis Antetokounmpo and his Bucks. For whatever reason, the Heat lost control in Game 2 and just couldn’t recover. However, luckily for them, there is a clear game plan to possibly get a win on Thursday night.
Here are three key things that must happen for Miami in order to win Game 3 and get back in this series as it moves forward.
1. The 2020 version of Jimmy Butler
Butler nearly had a triple-double in Game 1 despite his awful 4-of-22 shooting performance in Game 1, but then he completely disappeared for Game 2. While the Heat have a solid roster, they’re not going anywhere if Butler can’t play like a superstar like he did in the bubble last year. He still played 32 minutes in a blowout loss and only managed 10 points, two rebounds, and four assists. That’s a less-than-impressive performance for someone considered to be the leader and superstar of his team.
If Butler isn’t generating any offense, this squad suffers immensely. Miami has to find a way to get its star going against Giannis, otherwise, this will be a short visit in the postseason. Not only was Butler locked up, but prominent scorers Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson also lacked in their performances as well. Look for the Heat to find a way to get Jimmy Butler rolling early, as he gives them their best chance of winning on Thursday night.
2. Improve the offense as a whole
While Butler coming around on offense would be a huge help on its own in terms of raising the ceiling of the offense, he’s going to need plenty of help against this elite Bucks defense. Miami shot 28.6% from beyond the arc in Game 2. It looked even worse considering the Bucks shot 41.3% from the 3-point line and made 22 triples, compared to Miami’s puny total of eight.
The Heat did make 20 3-pointers in Game 1, but they really struggled inside the arc and simply haven’t been efficient on offense. The team absolutely must hit from the outside to have a chance, and there must be better conversion in the paint. That’s a tall order against the mighty Bucks, but Miami has to do it.
3. Regain control on the boards
The Heat took just 82 shots compared to 94 for the Bucks, and that’s because Miami got absolutely dominated on the glass. Milwaukee secured 61 total rebounds in the game, including a whopping 21 offensive rebounds. The Bucks shooting so well and dominating the offensive glass meant it was game over.
Bam Adebayo only had 3 rebounds on the night, while Butler didn’t have a single defensive rebound. That’s completely unacceptable for these star players. They have to get aggressive and fight for every loose ball if Miami hopes to stay alive in the playoffs, and that mentality extends to the defense as a whole.
The Heat have a whole lot to do better.