Heat Pull Off Historic Upset! | Heat Season Companion Part 18

heat season companion part 18
Erik Spoelstra coached the Heat to an incredible first-round upset of the Bucks. Credit to Erik Drost. Edited. Image used under CC BY 2.0.

Our Heat season companion part 18 picks up with the Miami Heat pulling off an incredible upset early Thursday morning when they knocked out the first-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in five games. The Heat became only the sixth eight-seed to knock out a one-seed in NBA history. Of course, all of the previous five occasions were huge upsets. However, this may be the greatest upset of them all. The Bucks were favored to win the title and the Heat barely made the playoffs in the first place. Let’s take a look at why the Heat upset the Bucks.

Why the Heat Won the Series

Heat Season Companion Part 18: Jimmy Butler Had One of the Greatest Playoff Series in NBA History

The biggest and most obvious reason that the Heat won this series is the amazing play of Jimmy Butler. His 56-point performance in Game 4 will go down as one of the greatest performances in NBA playoff history. He backed that up with 42 points and 8 rebounds in Game 5. He also made an insanely difficult game-tying shot with 0.5 seconds left in regulation in Game 5. Butler also played well in the Games 1-3. Of course, Butler also played suffocating defense throughout the entire series.

Giannis Missed Game 3 & Most Of Game 1

Giannis’ back injury was certainly a major factor in the Bucks getting knocked out. He missed most of Game 1, which the Heat went on to win. He also missed Game 3, another Heat victory. Of course, the Bucks won in Giannis’ absence in Game 2. However, this was mostly because they shot over 50% from three-point range.

The Bucks Played Poorly in the 4th Quarters of Games 4 & 5

Another important factor in the Bucks’ demise was the Bucks’ poor play in the 4th quarters of Games 4 and 5. They held sizeable leads going into the final periods of both these games. However, they couldn’t close out the Heat in either matchup. This is down to both poor shooting and poor defense. This was fairly surprising from a team with as much playoff experience as the Bucks.

Heat Season Companion Part 18: Giannis Missed 13 Free Throws In Game 5

Overall, Giannis played well in Game 5. He scored 38 points and had 20 rebounds. As impressive as these stats are, it’s hard to overlook the fact that he made just 10 out of 23 free throws. The Bucks would have won Game 5 if Giannis has made a couple more shots from the stripe.

Heat Season Companion Part 18: The Heat’s Bench Outplayed the Bucks’ Bench

The Heat’s bench outplayed the Buck’s bench throughout the series. Of the Heat’s bench players, Caleb Martin deserves the most praise. He played very well on both ends of the floor through the first four games, including playing great defense against Giannis and Kris Middleton (though he didn’t play as well in Game 5).

Haywood Highsmith also deserves a mention. He didn’t get many minutes, but he played excellent defense when he was on the floor. Gabe Vincent also made a huge three-pointer to help the Heat force overtime in game 5. Max Strus made two clutch free throws to help secure the series win for the Heat in game 5, as well.

The Heat Will Face the Knicks in the Second Round

The Heat will next face the Knicks in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. As the Heat just knocked out a one-seed which was favored to win the title, I’d bet that they will also beat the fifth-seed Knicks. Game 1 is in New York on Sunday.

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