Are the Bucks switching it into playoff-mode?
Are the Bucks switching it into playoff-mode?
Are the Bucks switching it into playoff-mode? The Bucks are preventing elimination the best that they can; as they were able to win Game 4 yesterday against the Heat. They are making things interesting, for the most part, as it will go to a best-of-seven contest now.
Many were speculating that the Bucks were going to lose with or without Giannis because they haven’t shown any fight throughout the series. Good news, the team stepped up. Without Giannis, due to his reoccurring ankle injury, Kris Middleton and the Bucks balled out.
Middleton led the charge with 36 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. This was the kind of game the Bucks were hoping for, but can their (sudden) momentum help them?
Because we all know Jimmy Butler isn’t going to take this lightly, he already hasn’t. He already stated that the team could comfortable and relaxed because no Giannis was on the court.
“Well, it shouldn’t affect ours, but I think that we relaxed a little bit,” Butler said when asked if the Heat’s play changed after the Bucks’ big man exited. “And we stopped playing basketball the right way, we stopped guarding. We stopped living by our defensive principles, we weren’t getting 50-50 balls. We were getting outrebounded. It was just all bad.”
So, this begs the question. If they are activating playoff-mode, then how do they keep the momentum away from the Heat?
The Heat team that consists of Butler, Herro, Adebayo, Crowder, and Dragic. The Bucks (without Giannis… potentially) would be Middleton, Bledsoe, Hill, and Lopez. But if you add Giannis in the mix. You’ll have Middleton, Bledsoe, Giannis, Hill, and Bledsoe.
To me, the Bucks have already stated and shown (through their last game) that they believe they can make a tremendous, daring comeback. They have tapped into something because last game their offense was transitioning nicely and their defense was strong.
They were shooting the ball at a steady pace, 48%. Plus, commanding the points in the paint and the rebounding. They have switched into playoff-mode, with or without Giannis.
I strongly believe that the Bucks have a shot, they just have to capitalize. Now, that is going to be a little bit more challenging as the Heat won’t be as relaxed as last game. The Heat will be fighting for the boards, cutting through their defense, and making the tough shots.
So, how can the Bucks stop Jimmy Butler and the Heat?
The Bucks will need all the help it can get from their players, and that means having Giannis on the court. Depending on the extent of the injury, Giannis should be good to go.
The Bucks will need to play smart, physical, and go to the hoop. The Heat have tall players, starting with Butler and ending with Adebayo. The reason why those two are your key tall players, is because they play the most minutes effectively and everyone will be looking for them on the inside.
If the Bucks want to win this game, they’ll need to contain Butler and Adebayo. That means they’ll have to put Giannis on Butler and Middleton on Adebayo. This will help tremendously as Butler will be looking to drive a lot and hitting those inside shots. Plus, Middleton can space out and protect his zone/man so that he can’t shoot three-pointers, jumpers, or anything like that.
Also, Giannis needs to drive the ball to the basket. He needs to because he is missing open three-pointers, getting open looks but not capitalizing, and his main success is being physical with the ball.
The Bucks need to have Giannis drive, Middleton shoot three-pointers and midrange shots, and have Bledsoe hit those corner threes and those 15-20 feet shots. Because the Heat will be trying to get quick shots up, easy points by shooting tons of threes. Mainly because they have the talent.
Defensively, the Bucks need to contain their top three-point shooters. Because that team is known for shooting threes, and they have been able to keep a steady pace. As it has been around 30%.
If you are able to play a zone that blocks up the middle and does a pretty good job of making those three-pointers contested. Then I think the Bucks can still the game for their second win on the series.
That’s how the Bucks need to play it, they don’t need to make things complicated for themselves. The Heat is going to play strong to the hole, quick shots on the outside, and playing more aggressively on the rebounding side. The Bucks just need to plug up the middle and contest those three-point shots. If you take away the quick shots and making things more contested, you’ll have a higher chance of success on the court.
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