Well, here we are, witnessing the Milwaukee Bucks fall into that ugly 0-2 hole I warned about. Here we are watching the anguish on Bucks players faces. (Reminiscent of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.) This utter frustration and ugliness has become a bit of PTSD for Milwaukee’s players and their fans. Tonight was next level ugliness.
We must give the Miami Heat their due credit. They’ve been stellar defensively. Giannis is constantly seeing 2-3 defenders whenever he touches the ball and those defenders have been quick to rotate to the three point line, stifling Mike Budenholzer’s “Let it Fly” game plan. (Milwaukee went just 7-25 from 3 in Game 2) Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has ALWAYS been able to coach em’ up, especially on the defensive end. The Heat have never had a problem with making games ugly. They weren’t the only cause for the ugliness.
Budenholzer continues to make head scratching personnel decisions. Why play Pat Connaughton and Donte DiVincenzo, in critical spots, when neither have produced much all playoff long, much less this series? (Don’t believe me? Take a look at the +/- for each.)
Budenholzer’s offense sees no movement. His offense is wonderful when shots are being made. Thing is; when you face a good defense, like the Heat, those shots won’t be there or will be pressured. Watching this offense make the extra pass into a difficult shot, is gray hair inducing. One way to get this Heat defense off its square, is to move.
Then, we have the officials. They’re going to need new whistles after all the fouls they called in Game 2. The officials called 51 fouls. The Bucks and Heat shot 71 free throws combined. The final three from the Bucks and the game ending two from the Heat, should have never happened. The calls in those moments were horrendous and took the game out of the players’ hands.
This game was, and this series is, ugly. Embrace it and win that way. The Bucks haven’t been playing well for about 20 games now. Don’t figure out how to get back to what you were, figure out how to win the game you’re in. If 0-2 is ugly, 0-3 is ghastly.