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It was a very ugly shooting night for Milwaukee as Miami close out the series with a 103-94 victory. Miami advance to the conference finals, winning the series 4-1. Both teams matched each other fairly evenly in this one, it was just Milwaukee’s inability to score that made the difference in the end.
After the first quarter ended, it almost felt like Miami was down for the count. They were turning the ball over and could not score the basketball very well, particularly the 3 point shot. However, they came out with more aggression on both ends from the second quarter onwards. They had an almost 5 minute stretch in which they didn’t score, but fortunately for them, Milwaukee had one of almost 7 minutes!
Milwaukee played with better defense in the second half, but by then it felt like Miami had the edge. A lot of guys contributed for each team, there wasn’t a clear “superstar” on the night. Most guys played well, but there are a few I want to talk about.
We’ll start with the Bucks. Middleton had another solid game, but did not have the impact needed. In some games of this series, he has proved me wrong about him. In others, he has been exactly the player I thought he’d be. Middleton played 42 minutes and he finished with 23 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. However, his numbers were overshadowed by a pretty poor shooting performance. 32% on the field and a very low 22% from long range.
Lopez had one of the better scoring nights for Milwaukee, he finished with 15 points on 44% shooting and he added 14 boards to go along with this. His long range shot was also missing in action tonight, he went 0 for 3. Donte Divcenzo scored 17 on 56% shooting. Wesley Matthews had a few really good defensive possessions and showed a lot of hustle. His box score doesn’t look super impressive, but he made Butler work hard tonight. He also logged 2 steals and 2 blocks to go along with his 11 points. It was just a terrible night on offense for most of the team though, Milwaukee finished on 36% overall and 27% from the 3.
I need a Herro! I’m glad I finally got to get a relevant Tyler Herro joke in. What a game for the rookie, especially in the fourth quarter. 50% on the field, 42% from long range, Herro finishes with 14 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. In the fourth quarter though, it felt like he was involved in everything. Butler had a double/double (17/10) and shot at a very impressive 67%. I could list the entire Heat squad really, because they were very effective. It was a great team effort to get this win.
It should be all smiles for Miami. They are 8-1 so far in the post season. They can just get some rest and some light practices in, whilst they await to find out their opponent for the conference final. Another disappointing exit for the Bucks, I wonder if Giannis will sign or take his talents elsewhere?
The Lakers pick up a 112-102 victory against the Rockets and now lead the series at 2-1. It was Dynamic Duo vs Dynamic Duo in this one. Both duos had excellent games, so it was going to come down the role players. The Lakers played better team defense and had other guys step up to the task. Depth is often a problem for this Rockets team. Let’s start with the Lakers and move on from there.
Lebron James scored 29 points…in the first half! Incredible. He finished the night with 36 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 4 blocks. Yes, 4 blocks! Anthony Davis was equally important in this win, adding 26 points and 15 rebounds. My favourite stat for AD though, was zero 3 point shot attempts. Rajon Rondo ended up being the x factor. 21 points and 9 assists. He also had 3 triples on 60% shooting from outside. If Rondo is making threes, it’s going to be a long series for the Rockets.
Speaking of the Rockets, Westbrook had a much better game. He came out much more aggressive and finished the night with 30 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. He still took too many threes for my liking (I would like him to take 0) but he hit 2 out of 4, so I can’t really complain. Harden had 33, 9 and 9. Jeff Green added 16 points but no one else really got it going for Houston.
I think the Rockets really blew a good chance in this one. It was closer than the final score suggested. It was really just Rondo exploding late that made the difference. That, and the defensive intensity by the Lakers. The Lakers turned the ball over far too much and I thought it would come back to bite them, but they managed to get away with it in the end. No one stepped up for Houston when the game mattered most. No disrespect, but there was too much Jeff Green down the stretch.
Lakers just look too big and too strong. When it matters most, they are the team that are turning up. I haven’t got much else to say, I’m mad at Houston because I needed them to stay within 8 points for my multi!
EDIT : I forgot to send best wishes to Robert Covington. That was a nasty hit he took late in the game, I hope he is ok.