Well, that was painful. Figuratively and literally. The Milwaukee Bucks suffered much more than a 130-117 loss to the Miami Heat, they lost their way.
In the first quarter of Sunday’s playoff tilt, Giannis Antetokounmpo took a hard fall. He was obviously in pain, so much so he went to the locker room. Giannis returned and gave it a go, but soon left the game for good with a lower back contusion. Painful.
The Bucks were 11-8 in the regular season without Giannis, so it’s not like this deep roster doesn’t know how to win without him. It’s hard to do so when your opposition shoots the basketball lights out, while you died by the 3.
The Heat shot ball at a 59.5 percent clip. That includes 15-of-25 from three. Milwaukee shot 49.5 percent overall, but just 11-of-45 from 3. So, not only was the defense not there, neither was the deep shotmaking or the normal offensive flow. (Far too many one-on-ones after Giannis left the game.)
Bucks don’t know how long they’ll be without Giannis and it’s a road they’ve travelled before in playoffs past. Heat simply bombarded the Bucks with incredible shot making, made a tad easier by uncharacteristic, less than physical defensive play. (Officials had a hand in that.)
It’s not time to panic, it’s time to focus. Call it rust, call it a rough night, call it being shell-shocked. The reality is the Bucks are in an 0-1 hole that defense and shot making will cure.
Bucks hope for a reversal of fortunes and a series tie, on Wednesday night.