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Heat Coast to Game One Victory Over Bucks; Herro, Giannis Injured



Jimmy Butler | Photo Credit:

The Miami Heat had Jimmy Butler for the full game and the Milwaukee Bucks lost Giannis Antetokounmpo to a back contusion injury in the first half of action. This made the difference as the Heat upset the Bucks in game one.

Jimmy Butler had 35 points and 11 assists, and the Heat capitalized on Antetokounmpo’s injury to beat the Bucks 130-117 on Sunday in an Eastern Conference playoff opener. Those 130 points for Miami, it actually set a franchise scoring record for a playoff game.

Butler’s dominant performance allowed the Heat to overcome their own loss of Tyler Herro, who broke his right hand while diving for a loose ball during the second quarter.

“He’s just a brilliant competitor, he does it on both ends of the court. He has an innate feel for what’s necessary during the course of a game. We needed obviously some offensive punch, some triggers, something to settle us all down, particularly when we found out Tyler was out. Jimmy was able to do it in a lot of different ways,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

The Heat allowed the Bucks to take the lead only once all game, a 4-2 Bucks advantage during the opening minutes of the game.

Now the Bucks wait to learn how long Antetokounmpo might be out because of a lower back bruise.

“There was an X-ray that was clear here. We’ll monitor him and see how he does, see how he wakes up, how he feels the rest of tonight and tomorrow,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.

The early departures of Antetokounmpo and Herro were not ideal for either squad and it forced both teams to adjust down the stretch.

No one was more prepared for the moment than Jimmy Butler on Sunday, who shot 15-of-27, leading the way for the Heat as he clipped 59.5% from the floor.

“I just control what I can control in the end, play basketball the right way, no matter who’s out there on the floor on my team or the opposing team, stay aggressive. Make sure my guys get their shots. Defend as I’m supposed to defend and do whatever it takes to get my team the win,” Butler said.

Bam Adebayo would assist the winning effort behind Butler by scoring 22 points, nine rebounds and dish seven assists for Miami.

The Heat would also outscore the Bucks by a dramatic margin of efficiency from beyond the three-point line. The Heat shot 15-of-25 from deep, while the Bucks could only muster 11-of-45.

While Khris Middleton did score 33 points and Bobby Portis added 21 for the Bucks, Miami seized control of the game early on and did not give up control, and the Bucks did not appear to be the same team from the regular season. They had NBA’s best regular-season record and top playoff seed in the East coming into game one with the Heat.

“They played well, they looked like they had a rhythm, attacking the basket, got to the free-throw line a lot. There’s a lot of things we need to do, kind of like starting off better,” said Milwaukee guard Jrue Holiday.

The Bucks kept trying to claw back into the game, but Jimmy Butler made sure the Heat answered the call every time and sparked the NBA’s biggest playoff upset in game one.

“He’s arguably the best closer in the game, it’s unbelievable what he’s able to do out there. He’s our leader. He sets the tone for us. I’m taking him pretty much over anybody in the league when it comes down to closing out a game,” said Miami forward Kevin Love.



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