The Milwaukee Bucks currently find themselves down 3-1 to the Miami Heat after coming in as the No. 1 overall seed in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. It has been a shocking result through four games, something that has rarely been seen in NBA history. Only five No. 8 seeds have knocked a No. 1 seed out of the playoffs in NBA history, and the Heat are certainly itching to become the sixth. Miami has looked like a better team in the series, albeit not truly having to face Giannis Antetokounmpo besides in Game 4. Still, Antetokounmpo had an elite performance, putting forth a triple-double that still wasn’t enough to bring home a win. The Bucks were blocked from evening the series heading into Game 5 by an unreal performance from Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler.
Butler had 56 points on 19/28 shooting, including a scoring effort of over 20 points in both the first and fourth quarters. It was a stellar game from Butler, as he broke the Heat franchise record for highest scoring performance in an NBA Playoff game. In general, it was the fourth highest scoring output in NBA history. He turned on the jets late in the fourth quarter, leading a 13-0 Miami run to give them their first lead of the game at 102-101. The Heat went on to win 119-114, and firmly put the Bucks’ backs against the wall. Both teams now head back to Milwaukee to prepare for a pivotal Game 5 at Fiserv Forum. Here are three bold predictions for the Milwaukee Bucks as they look to stave off elimination in Game 5 vs. the Miami Heat.
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Milwaukee Bucks replicate Game 2 performance
The Bucks have one win in the series, and it came in dominant fashion. In Game 2, the Bucks won 138-122 behind a record-breaking performance. They drilled 25 3-pointers, an NBA record for 3s made in a game, led by huge performances off the bench. Joe Ingles made 5 3-pointers, while Pat Connaughton made 6 himself, providing a huge spark in the second unit. As the Bucks return home, and with every game a must win from here on out, they will need such performances to survive. Fortunately for Bucks faithful, they will hit 25 3-pointers again in Game 5.
The 3-point barrage in Game 2 came without Giannis Antetokounmpo, who should be available to play in Game 5. Even with his presence, the Bucks will get hot early from beyond the arc, and it will continue throughout the contest. In general, the Bucks need to play at the top of their game just to avoid going home, and they will come out with a fresh sense of urgency. As they shoot 3-pointers early and often, the ball will find the bottom of the net on their way to making 25 of them. This will certainly give the Bucks a good chance at avoiding elimination in Game 5.
Bucks hold Miami Heat to regular season standards
The Miami Heat have looked like a completely different team in the 2023 NBA Playoffs than they looked in the regular season. After finishing as the lowest scoring team in the NBA this season, they are the highest scoring team in the postseason. Not to mention, they are shooting over 10% better from beyond the arc, a remarkable increase that is spreading across the roster. Their surging offense is a big reason for the 3-1 lead, and the Heat will look to continue their momentum in Game 5. However, the Bucks are finally going to show their fifth ranked defense from the regular season.
A lot of credit has to be given to the Heat’s improved shooting, although the Bucks have simply not looked like the defensive team they promised to be. All season they suffocated teams on that end of the floor, while the Heat have seemingly got whatever they have wanted through four games. With the threat of elimination looming over their heads, the Bucks will play a much more intense brand of basketball on defense in Game 5. Expect the Bucks to make the Heat look like the version of themselves more reflective of the regular season, and for Game 5 to be much more low scoring for Miami.
Giannis goes for 50
Giannis Antetokounmpo is known to be one of the most competitive players in the NBA, let alone one of the best players. Not being out there for much of this series has undoubtedly fueled his competitive spirit, and being down 3-1 will now increase his sense of urgency. Watching Butler go for 56 points to put the Bucks on the brink of elimination is going to start a fire inside of the Greek Freak. He is going to start the Bucks comeback effort in this series with a huge performance in Game 5, dropping 50 points in response to Jimmy Butler.
Antetokounmpo will go into this game wanting to establish himself as the best player on the floor. As of now, the best player in the series has been Jimmy Butler, but the Greek Freak is going to take this personally. He is going to match Butler’s Game 4 effort with 50 points for himself, and ensure he does everything to keep the Bucks 2023 NBA Playoffs alive. A 50 point affair from Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 5 against the Heat should ensure a Game 6 in Miami.
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