Thanks to two clutch free throws from Jimmy Butler with no time remaining on the clock, the No. 5 Miami Heat took a 2-0 series lead over the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks with their 116-114 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday night. With the win, the Heat remained undefeated in the 2020 NBA postseason. While Butler led the way for the Heat with 40 points in Game 1, it was much more of a team effort in Game 2. With 23 points, Goran Dragic led seven Heat players -- including all five starters -- that scored in double figures. It was the first time in Heat playoff history that seven players have scored in double-digits. The Heat are now just two wins away from their first Eastern Conference finals appearance since 2014 -- when they were led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Giannis Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 29 points and 14 rebounds, but clearly his production wasn't enough. The Bucks now find themselves in a tough hole, albeit not an insurmountable one, and they certainly don't have time to hang their heads, as Game 3 is set for Friday night. Moving forward, the Bucks will have to figure out how to get some more easy looks for Antetokounmpo, while also tightening things up on the defensive end.
You can find three key takeaways from Game 2 below:
- Clutch free throws from Jimmy Butler to close it out for Miami
A whole lot transpired over the course of the contest, but ultimately it was Jimmy Butler standing alone at the foul line with the ball in his hands, the score of the game tied, and no time remaining on the clock. It's the type of situation that young hoopers envision in parks and gyms across the world while they're practicing free throws. Butler has gained a reputation as a clutch player over the course of his career, and he only reinforced that notion on Wednesday night, as he calmly sunk both of the free throws to give Miami the win.
It's not easy to knock down free throws with the game hanging in the balance, but Butler took care of business, and the Heat have a 2-0 lead now because of it.
2. Miami dominated from deep
The 3-point shot is an enormous aspect of play in today's NBA, and in turn, it plays a central role in the outcome of contests, like Game 2 on Wednesday night. In this game, the Heat made 10 more 3-pointers than the Bucks did. The Heat were 17-of-45 from deep, while the Bucks were just 7-of-25. That's a 30-point difference from beyond the arc in a game that the Heat won by two points. Sometimes basketball analysis is pretty simple: when a team is outscored by 30 points from deep, it's going to be tough to win.
3. Bucks need Antetokounmpo to pick it up
As the NBA's reigning MVP and his team's best player, Antetokounmpo is going to get the most praise when the Bucks do well, and he's going to get the most scrutiny when they struggle, as they have in this series. Antetokounmpo has been good, but the Bucks will need more from him if they're going to climb out of this 2-0 hole. Through two games, he's averaging just 23.5 points per game in the series -- six points below his season average. The Heat have done a good job against him defensively, but he will still have to find a way to step it up a level.
If Antetokounmpo is unable to up his production, the Bucks could be heading home from Orlando early.