HEAT Stay Perfect in Postseason Play, Take Commanding 3-0 Series Lead Over Bucks

Jimmy Butler
Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler
by Joe Beguiristain
HEAT.com

Thanks to an outstanding fourth quarter, the HEAT overcame a double-digit deficit and defeated the Bucks 115-100 Friday night at the The Field House in Orlando to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

And like in Game 1, the fourth quarter was the Jimmy Butler show.

1. Jimmy Takes Over…Again

With 9:40 left in the fourth, Butler checked in facing a 91-81 deficit.

But he wasn’t fazed at all.

From there, the 30-year-old vet put the team on his back and led all players with 17 points in the final period. Not only did he do plenty of damage from the free throw line as usual, but he also converted from the field.

I mean, just take a look at this tough finish over Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez:

That wasn’t all, though, as Butler also defended the “Greek Freak” quite well down the stretch.

Simply put, Milwaukee had no answer for “Playoff Jimmy”.

When it was all said and done, Butler amassed a game-high 30 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including 2-of-5 from deep, and 14-of-19 from the line, seven boards, a team-high six assists, one steal and a plus-23 rating.

2. Bam Strong Throughout

Although Bam Adebayo played pretty well through three quarters, he saved his best for last.

After diving to the rim with force and throwing down some jams in the second quarter, he came through with this ridiculous dunk in the fourth despite having Antetokounmpo in the vicinity:

Told you it was ridiculous.

Naturally, Adebayo also emptied the tank defensively against Antetokounmpo when matched up with him.

In all, the former Kentucky Wildcat tallied 20 points (10 in the fourth) on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 6-of-7 from the charity stripe, a game-high 16 rebounds (tied with Antetokounmpo), three assists, those game-high two blocks above (tied with Antetokounmpo and Lopez) and a plus-14 rating.

3. Crowder Keeps It Up

So…you’re not going to believe this, but Jae Crowder played hard-nosed defense and spaced the floor for Miami once again.

Seriously, though, Crowder did his thing and hit a dagger three that put the HEAT up 107-100 with 2:15 left.

(Also note the remarkable feed by Butler.)

Shortly thereafter, Crowder forced Eric Bledsoe into a turnover when the Bucks really needed a score.

That’s the definition of a two-way player.

Crowder finished with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting (all from downtown), five assists, four rebounds and a plus-18 rating.

Other Takeaways:

-Tyler Herro showed no fear and hit Goran Dragić with this nice pass early in the fourth:

Herro ended up with 13 points, eight boards and three assists, while Dragić accumulated 15 points, five rebounds, three assists, a game-high two steals (tied with Bledsoe and Khris Middleton), one block and a game-high plus-24 rating.

-Derrick Jones Jr. made some noise in the first half, as he nailed two treys and had this volleyball spike on Donte DiVincenzo early in the second quarter:

Apparently, the “Airplane Mode” nickname isn’t just because he can dunk.

Jones Jr. concluded with six points on 2-of-2 shooting and that block above in 6:24 of action.

Game Notes:

-The HEAT outscored the Bucks 40-13 in the fourth quarter, which was the largest fourth quarter margin in a playoff game in NBA history.

-Miami drilled 18 threes, which tied a postseason franchise record that was initially set on Aug. 20 against Indiana.

-Kyle Alexander, KZ Okpala, Kelly Olynyk (Right Knee Bruise) and Chris Silva (Left Pubic Bone Stress Fracture) were inactive.

Looking Ahead:

-The HEAT will aim to sweep the Bucks on Sunday at 3:30 PM. You can catch the game only on ABC, but the FOX Sports Sun pre and postgame shows will be on HEAT.com.

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