Tell me if you've heard this one before: The Bucks started a playoff series against a Florida team in rocky fashion, losing and causing a whole lot of hand-wringing across Bucks nation.
Yep, it was second verse same as the first on Monday as the Bucks started their second Sunshine State series with another scuffle, losing Game 1 to a scorchingly hot Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, 115-104. The good news? Last time we saw this story, it ended with four straight victories. The bad news? The Miami Heat are not the Orlando Magic. Anyone who didn't see this game going six or seven games is as bad at predicting things as I am making analogies right now.
Let's take a final look at the highs and lows of Game 1 – and look ahead to what to expect in Game 2.
1. An early W
Today, Mayor Tom Barrett announced additional in-person and drive through early voting sites for the 2020 General Election at Fiserv Forum and Miller Park. âoe... VOTE. pic.twitter.com/MVORgqIW1P — Fiserv Forum (@FiservForum) August 31, 2020
The Bucks may have lost the game, but they won the day thanks to the news Monday afternoon that their home court, Fiserv Forum, as well as Miller Park will be used as early voting sites for the upcoming November election. The Bucks didn't just sit out a few games last week for show; they took action, used their platform for good and pushed change, which is more than you can say about some other groups in this state.
2. The best fan section (sorry, Clutch Crew)
NBA players' families are now allowed in the bubble (after a quarantine period, of course), which meant that Giannis had a pair of very special fans sitting courtside for Game 1 against the Miami Heat.
Unfortunately Mariah Riddlesprigger and Liam didn't have a front row seat to a win, but I'm sure they'll both have some tips and notes for his dad for Game 2.
3. Fonder memories
Giannis destroying Jimmy Butler, surely this is a moment that will be remembered after the final buzzer and portend game news for the rest of the game!
4. Khash payment received
After a rocky opening series, Khris Middleton looked like the player the Bucks payed for against the Heat, scoring a team-high 28 points and lighting up Miami from just about every part of the court. At least ... in the first half. Middleton, along with the rest of Milwaukee, unfortunately came down to earth in the second half, but it was a good sign nevertheless to see Khash look khomfortable again on the khourt.
5. Brook at the buzzer
A moment from happier times ...
What I like most about Brook Lopez is that none of his shoots look good. He always looks like he's stumbling or tripping into his shot – and then it goes in! He is an inspiration to awkward and clumsy folks like me everywhere.
6. The destroyer of worlds
Normally, this would be the part where a sports commentator would say that Jimmy Butler broke the Bucks' spirit, and that, "Look at that body language; that looks like a defeated team!" But let's cut the amateur psychology nonsense and say that these faces are the exact, correct and only logical response to Butler's monstrous performance on Monday. Butler put up a career playoff high 40 points, mostly in the second half where he made seemingly every shot and got everywhere he wanted on the court. It was some cruel Marquette-on-Milwaukee violence – but not a surprise to anyone who's watched the furiously motivated, unstoppable player. The Bucks – in particular Wes Matthews, who I imagine we'll see more of come Game 2 – will need to rein him in if they stand a chance of sneaking past the Heat unburned.
7. A tough day at the office
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We hate to share this clip, but Giannis had an undeniably underwhelming start to the series. The final line isn't disastrous – 18 points, ten rebounds and nine assists – but he looked sloppy and ineffective down the stretch and, as shown above, missed eight free throws (often poorly) that would've changed the complexion of the game. Mondays, amirite?
8. Sports ... analysis?
For those wondering why Giannis struggled in Game 1 ...
This is how good Giannis is.
It’s incredible to see how Heat defended him on this one play early in the 4th Q.
Built a wall at the 3 point line.
4 Miami defenders surrounding him.
(In slow mo - to accentuate how important it is to meet Giannis ASAP) pic.twitter.com/w6gXlKRcpF — Jorge Sedano (@Sedano) September 1, 2020
Yeah, I suppose having 80 percent of the team coming to stop you on a play would make things difficult and perhaps even a struggle!
9. The quote that launched a thousand takes
Oh, you knew the Skip Baylesses of the world were going to feast on this game to prove that Giannis is actually overrated and that he's not clutch when it matters and that he should probably flee Milwaukee for Golden State or Miami or whatever market they'd like to watch more. (Spoiler alert: They're wrong!) But Giannis threw a little bonus wood on that fire after the game with this quote about the idea of switching onto Jimmy Butler near the end of the game.
Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo on whether he asked to switch onto Heat’s Jimmy Butler during late-game explosion: "To guard him? No, I didn’t. Why would you ask that? I’ll do whatever coach wants me to do." pic.twitter.com/IFpR5pk1s1 — Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 1, 2020
Sure, putting the newly crowned Defensive Player of the Year on a streaking star would make sense – but exhausting your best player down the stretch by putting him on the hardest matchup on the court seems like poor strategy too, especially when you have other players capable of guarding Butler. In fact, the error in Game 1 wasn't putting Giannis on Butler, but not putting Wes Matthew – who succeeded in bottling up Butler in the first half and is one of the team's better defensive stoppers – back in the game during clutch time.
But, of course, that take requires nuance – something sports hot-takers unfortunately have in inverse proportion to volume. If Giannis said he wants to guard Butler, they'd say he was throwing teammates under the bus and that he clearly wants out of Milwaukee. So instead he said this and stayed a team player ... to which they said he's not tough enough and that he clearly wants out of Milwaukee. Fun game!
10. History repeats itself ... again?
Hey, it worked last time!
Just a reminder that the last time the #Bucks lost game 1 in a series Paul Pierce declared it "over" then Milwaukee won 4 in a row. This games was beyond ugly, but the season is a long way from over. pic.twitter.com/9qvoihoXPZ — Scott Grodsky (@ScottGrodsky) August 18, 2020
It would've been nice to have Game 1, but with the games being played in the bubble, losing Game 1 "at home" does nowhere near the strategic harm as it would during a normal postseason. Plus, this is familiar territory for the Bucks – just ask the Orlando Magic. And the Boston Celtics last year.
And, most importantly of all, you can't be #BucksInSix without losing a few games! Here's to tying things up on Wednesday with Game 2 at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.