Brook Lopez scored 25 points, Jrue Holiday added 24 and the hot-shooting Milwaukee Bucks withstood Giannis Antetokounmpo’s absence while trouncing the Miami Heat 138-122 on Wednesday night, tying their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series at a game apiece.
The Bucks went 25 of 49 on 3-point attempts to tie the NBA record for 3-point baskets in a postseason game. Pat Connaughton, who didn’t even play in Game 1, added a playoff career-high 22 points while going 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Antetokounmpo remained out for Milwaukee after leaving the Bucks’ 130-117 Game 1 loss early in the second quarter with a bruised lower back. The two-time MVP suffered the injury on a hard fall after getting fouled late in the first period during a drive to the basket.
“We’ll continue to monitor him and expect for him to improve and still continue to be optimistic that soon he’ll be ready to play,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said before the game.
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The Bucks also were missing guard Wesley Matthews, who had strained his right calf in Game 1. The Heat didn’t have Tyler Herro, who broke his right hand in Game 1 and likely won’t return this season unless Miami reaches the NBA Finals.
For at least one night, the Bucks didn’t miss Antetokounmpo at all as they capitalized on a dramatic turnaround in 3-point shooting. In Game 1, the Bucks went 11 of 45 on 3-point attempts while the Heat were 15 of 25. This time, the Bucks made more than half their 3-point shots in a record-tying performance.
Joe Ingles scored 17 points for the Bucks and was 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. Khris Middleton and Grayson Allen added 16 points apiece. Bobby Portis had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Jimmy Butler scored 25 points for the Heat, who host Game 3 on Saturday.
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The Bucks initially thrived by relying on the same formula they used the last time they played a home postseason game without Antetokounmpo. They gave the ball to Lopez early and often.
Lopez, who scored just 10 points in Game 1, had 14 by the end of the first quarter Wednesday. During Milwaukee’s 2021 title run, Lopez had scored a playoff career-high 34 points to help the Bucks beat the Atlanta Hawks 123-112 in Game 5 of the East finals while Antetokounmpo was out with a hyperextended left knee.
The success of Lopez inside opened things up for everyone on the perimeter.
Connaughton sank a 3-pointer that capped an 11-0 run to put Milwaukee ahead 62-41 with 5:29 left in the second quarter. Butler ended that spurt by making two free throws, but the Bucks scored the next 13 points – including seven from Ingles – to grab a 32-point lead.
The Bucks led by as many as 36 in the third quarter. The Heat outscored the Bucks 37-20 in the fourth quarter to make the final score somewhat respectable.
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Heat: Duncan Robinson replaced Herro in the starting lineup and had 14 points… After not playing at all in Game 1, Victor Oladipo had seven points by halftime Wednesday. He finished with 15.
Bucks: Jae Crowder received a flagrant 1 foul late in the third quarter for grabbing Butler’s right leg as the Heat forward was going up for a shot near the basket… Milwaukee had gone 11-8 in regular-season games that Antetokounmpo missed… Lopez received the NBA Cares Community Assist award for the month of March because of his support of youth literacy. The NBA will donate $10,000 to the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation.