A late rally by the Milwaukee Bucks made things interesting, but in the end, the Miami Heat prevailed 116-114 to take a 2-0 lead in their second round best-of-7 series inside the bubble in Orlando.
Khris Middleton drew a questionable foul call while shooting a three pointer with 4.3 seconds left and drained all three free throws to tie the game at 114.
After a timeout, the Heat advanced the ball to the front court and Jimmy Butler’s attempt at a game winning jumper was off the mark. But instead of seeing the game head to overtime, the official called a foul on Giannis Antetokounmpo as he put his left hand on Butler after the ball was already in the air. Butler went to the line and sank both free throws with no time left on the clock and the Heat pulled out the 2-point win.
Not to long ago, players would settle it on the court and officials wouldn’t think of blowing their whistle in the final seconds. But the in the new NBA, the official felt compelled to be a deciding factor in back-to-back possessions. The bottom line is the Bucks now trail in the series and face an all important game three on Friday night.
What got lost in the final seconds was the fact that the Bucks were once again outplayed and even when mounting a second half comeback, sloppy play did them in. The Bucks committed 14 turnovers for the game, while Miami had just 10. That number is down from the 19 turnovers the Bucks committed in game 1, but still were costly none-the-less.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 29 points and 14 rebounds and Khris Middleton added 23 points, six boards and eight assists. Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe chipped in with 16 points apiece to lead the Bucks offensively.
Goran Dragic had 23 points to lead Miami.
The Bucks have seen this before, only the shoe was on the other foot. They grabbed the first two games in last years playoffs from Toronto, only to see the Raptors win four straight to head to the NBA finals. Now they’re hoping they can turn the tables on the Heat. It will have to start with game three on Friday night (5:30 p.m.).