Bucks vs. Heat
With the news that Giannis Antetokounmpo was not going to be available for game 5, it seemed like the Bucks were already starting off at a disadvantage. The Bucks had finished game 4 without Giannis, but it would be a whole different story if he was out the whole game.
The Bucks started off the game strong, and they seemed to be replicating the same game plan that they had for game 4. The Bucks were running with 4 guards and a center, and they were able to jump out to a 9 point lead at the end of the first. The Heat were faced with a similar style that the Indiana Pacers had used in the first round, yet they were still down 6 by the end of the first half. It seemed like only a matter of time until the Heat found a way to beat the Bucks, and took advantage of Giannis’s absence. This breakout happened at the start of the second quarter, as the Heat took an 8 point lead with one more quarter left. The Bucks were giving it their all through the entire game, but Khris Middleton, 23 point, who was now the center of offense seemed gassed after putting playing so hard in the past 2 games. The Bucks continued to fight but the Heat’s three point shooting led by Tyler Herro, 14 points and 3 threes, and Jae Crowder, 16 points and 4 threes. With these knockdown shooters combined with Jimmy Butler, 17 points, and Goran Dragic, 17 points, attacking the hole, the Heat were no match for the undermanned Bucks. One of the biggest stories for the Heat has been their great team play, and another game where 6 players had 10+ points just magnifies this strength.
Final Score: MIA 103 MIL 94
MIA Wins series 4-1
Lakers vs. Rockets
After a Lakers win to even up the series, both teams were fighting for the lead in the series and any advantage that they could get.
Both teams started the game on fire, and this led to a very close and high scoring first quarter. Each team had scored 30+ after one quarter, and the game was only separated by 1 point. Both teams began to cool off, yet the game still remained close. The Rockets held a 3 point advantage at the end of the first half, and the second half was set to be as tight as the first. Neither team was able to gain any type of advantage coming out of the half, and the Lakers were able to close the gap and tie the game going into the final quarter. Just as in game 2, the Rockets lost the game in the fourth quarter and this was a result of great Laker play on both sides of the floor. Lebron James, 36 points, and Anthony Davis, 26 points, continued to carry the Lakers on offense, but the whole team put together a great performance on defense. The Rockets got great performances from Westrbook, 30 points, and James Harden, 33 points, but their lack of help let the Lakers trap both stars and create difficult possessions. The Lakers continue to play great defense, and get outstanding performances from James and Davis.
This is just game 3, and both teams are still fighting for a spot at the conference finals. This series is anyones to win, and we can expect the same kind of intensity and fight that was in game 2 and 3.
Final Score: LAL 112 HOU 102
Top Image: AP Images/Mark J. Terrill