Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said his players are glad they are getting a rematch with the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
On Tuesday night, the Bucks set an NBA record by sinking 29 3-pointers while stomping the Heat 144-97.
“Everyone in our locker room would rather get to this (rematch than endure) a long practice and film session,” Spoelstra said. “I don’t think anybody feels good about (Tuesday’s game). It happened for a reason, and we don’t want to disregard that.”
Spoelstra hinted that the Bucks viewed the game as payback for the Heat eliminating Milwaukee in five games in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
“It was pretty clear they were playing at a different urgency and intensity level,” Spoelstra said of the Bucks. “It looked like they had been thinking about this game for 80 days.”
The Bucks shot 56.9 percent from long distance (29 of 51) and got 3-pointers from 12 different players.
“Some days, the basketball gods are with you a little bit,” said Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer, who didn’t realize his club had set the NBA record for 3-pointers until he was told by a reporter following the game. “This was probably just one of those nights for us.”
Indeed, it was the most points ever allowed by the Heat in a home game, and the Bucks produced their biggest margin of victory ever in a road game.
Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 25 points while sinking 4 of 5 3-point attempts. Jrue Holiday contributed 24 points and hit 6 of 10 from 3-point range, and Donte DiVincenzo scored 17 points and sank 5 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo — the NBA’s two-time reigning MVP — had a rather easy night, playing 24 minutes and providing nine points, six assists and six rebounds. He was the only Bucks player in the game who did not hit a 3-pointer, going 0-for-2, and his streak of 132 consecutive games (regular season and postseason) with double-figure points ended.
Miami, playing without Jimmy Butler (sprained right ankle), got 23 points and seven assists from Tyler Herro. The second-year guard made 9 of 16 shots from the floor, including 3 of 8 from 3-point range, to provide one of the few Heat bright spots.
If Miami wants to find another positive omen, look no further than the 1991-92 season. On Dec. 17, 1991, the Cleveland Cavaliers blasted the visiting Heat 148-80. However, the next night, the Heat beat the visiting Indiana Pacers 118-112 in overtime.
Spoelstra, though, knows his team has to defend much better for history to repeat.
“Their first 15 3-pointers were right in their wheelhouse,” Spoelstra said of the Bucks. “They didn’t feel us (defensively), and then they got on a roll. They put on a heck of a shooting performance. They made us pay.”
Heat center Bam Adebayo was understandably dejected after the game.
“They made shots, and we had too many turnovers (22),” he said. “We didn’t come out with the intensity we usually have.”
–Field Level Media