2021 Playoffs: East First Round | Bucks vs. Heat

Numbers preview: Bucks (3) vs. Heat (6)

Breaking down deep stats that could shape the series between Milwaukee and Miami.

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann

The Bucks will look to avenge last postseason’s loss to the Heat.

The Milwaukee Bucks took a small step backward in the regular season, hoping to take a big step forward in the playoffs. That strategy will get tested right away, as the Bucks face the team that knocked them out in the conference semifinals last year. The Miami Heat also took a step backward this season, but they have a history of putting it all together at the right time.

Here are some statistical notes to get you ready for the 3-6 series in the East, with links to let you dive in and explore more. Game 1 is Saturday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN.


Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions


Milwaukee Bucks (46-26)

Pace: 102.9 (2)
OffRtg: 116.5 (5)
DefRtg: 110.7 (9)
NetRtg: +5.8 (4)

Regular season: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

vs. Miami: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Bucks notes – General:

  1. Only Eastern Conference team that ranked in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.
  2. Ranked 29th in time of possession (19.8 minutes per game).
  3. Had only 28 games, third fewest in the league (fewest among playoff or Play-In teams), that were within five points in the last five minutes. They were 13-15 (0.464) in those games and 33-11 (0.750) otherwise.
  4. Were just 6-23 (0.207) when trailing by double-digits. That mark ranked 18th in the league and worst among teams that finished in the top eight of their conference.

Bucks 2020-21 shot profile

 Area FGM FGA FG% Rank %FGA Rank
Restricted area 1,305 1,932 67.5% 4 29% 17
Other paint 451 1,018 44.3% 9 15% 25
Mid-range 427 993 43.0% 12 15% 9
Corner 3 240 588 40.8% 11 9% 18
Above-break 3 798 2,070 38.6% 4 31% 13

%FGA = Percentage of total field goal attempts

Bucks notes – Offense:

  1. Saw the league’s sixth biggest jump (+4.6) in points scored per 100 possessions, from 111.9 (eighth) last season to 116.5 (fifth) this season.
  2. Ranked second with 24.5 transition points per game, with transition accounting for 19.4% of their possessions, the league’s highest rate, according to Synergy tracking.
  3. Ranked 19th in effective field goal percentage in the first six seconds of the shot clock (60.8%), second in the middle 12 seconds of the shot clock (57.4%), and 26th in the last six seconds of the shot clock (42.4%), according to Second Spectrum tracking.
  4. Ranked fourth in player movement (11.7 miles traveled per 24 minutes of possession, but 25th in ball movement (309 passes per 24 minutes of possession), having seen the league’s fourth biggest drop in the latter from last season (336, 12th).
  5. Saw the league’s biggest jump in offensive rebounding percentage, from 24.1% (28th) last season to 26.9% (13th) this season.
  6. Led the league in pull-up 3-point percentage (37.8%).
  7. One of two teams — Charlotte was the other — that ranked in the bottom 10 in both free throw percentage (76.0%, 23rd) and free throw rate (23.3 attempts per 100 shots from the field, 24th).

Bucks four factors

 Own/Opp. eFG% Rank FTA Rate Rank TO% Rank OREB% Rank
Own 56.6% 2 0.233 24 13.4% 13 26.9% 13
Opponent 53.6% 13 0.202 1 12.7% 25 24.5% 4

eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained

Bucks notes – Defense:

  1. Saw the league’s biggest jump (+8.2) in points allowed per 100 possessions, from 102.5 (first) last season to 110.7 (ninth) this season.
  2. Allowed 10.7 fast break points per game, third fewest in the league.
  3. Were the only team whose opponents had a higher effective field goal percentage on shots from outside the paint (53.9%, second highest) than they did in the paint (53.5%, lowest). Ranked second in both opponent field goal percentage in the restricted area (61.3%) and the (lowest) percentage of opponent shots coming in the restricted area (25%).
  4. Allowed 14.8 3-pointers per game, setting the NBA (opponent) record for a third straight season.
  5. Played 236 possessions of zone, according to Synergy tracking. That was the 12th most in the league and up from just 40 possessions of zone (24th most) last season. The 1.04 points per possession they allowed when playing zone ranked 15th among the 23 teams that played at least 100 zone possessions.

Bucks notes – Lineups:

  1. Starting lineup — Holiday, DiVincenzo, Middleton, Antetokounmpo and Lopez — averaged 107.9 possessions per 48 minutes, the fastest pace among 30 lineups that played at least 200 minutes together. It outscored opponents by 8.7 points per 100 possessions, the 15th best mark among those 30 lineups. It allowed just 9.3 fast break points per 48 minutes, fewest among those 30 lineups and its opponent free throw rate (13.3 attempts per 100 shots from the field) was also the lowest mark.
  2. Played 56 total minutes with Giannis Antetokounmpo and P.J. Tucker at the four and five. Were outscored by 6.3 points per 100 possessions in those minutes, with Tucker shooting 0-for-4 from 3-point range.
  3. Got only 4% of their minutes, the league’s lowest rate, from rookies or second-year players.

Bucks notes – Individuals:

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo shot 80.7% in the restricted area, the best mark for any player with at least 200 restricted-area attempts in the 25 seasons for which we have shot-location data. Among 230 players with at least 100 field goal attempts in the paint and at least 100 field goal attempts from outside the paint, he had the biggest difference between his field goal percentage in the paint (69.0%) and his field goal percentage outside the paint (32.4%).
  2. Antetokounmpo led the league with 4.7 fast break points per game, though that was down from 6.0 per game last season.
  3. Antetokounmpo drew a league-high 7.7 fouls per game. He drew fouls on 12.9% of his drives, the highest rate among 115 players with at least 300 total drives.
  4. Pat Connaughton took 94% of his shots from the restricted area (24%) or 3-point range (70%). That was the third highest rate among 250 players with at least 300 total field goal attempts.
  5. Connaughton shot 42.4% from 3-point range in the first half of games and just 30.7% in the second half. That was the fourth biggest half-to-half drop among 137 players with at least 100 3-point attempts in each half.
  6. Bryn Forbes scored 0.507 points per touch, most among 325 players with at least 1,000 touches.
  7. Jrue Holiday shot 70-for-133 (52.6%) on pull-up 2-pointers, the third best mark among 100 players who attempted at least 100. Forbes had the fifth best mark (63-for-120, 52.1%).
  8. Holiday ranked fifth in steals per game (1.6).
  9. Opponents shot 49.3% at the rim when Brook Lopez was there to protect. That was the second best rim-protection mark among 72 players who defended at least 200 total shots at the rim. Antetokounmpo had the eighth best mark (51.5%).
  10. Khris Middleton shot 73-for-177 (41.2%) on pull-up 3s, the third best mark among 61 players who attempted at least 100. Holiday had the eighth best mark (66-for-164, 40.2%).
  11. Bobby Portis (47.1%) and Forbes (45.2%) ranked third and fourth, respectively, in 3-point percentage. Portis saw the fifth biggest jump in 3-point percentage (from 35.8%) among 202 players with at least 100 3-point attempts in each of the last two seasons.
  12. P.J. Tucker accounted for just 7.1% of his teams’ field goal attempts while he was on the floor, the lowest rate among 362 players who played at least 500 minutes.

Will Bucks be too much for Heat this time?

The Bucks' title runs fell short in each of the past two postseasons. What should we expect this time around?

Miami Heat (40-32)

Pace: 97.1 (29)
OffRtg: 110.6 (18)
DefRtg: 110.7 (10)
NetRtg: -0.1 (17)

Regular season: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

vs. Milwaukee: Team stats | Advanced splits | Player stats | Player shooting | Lineups

Heat notes – General:

  1. Only team that had a winning record and scored fewer points per 100 possessions than their opponents. Were a plus-2 for the season, but had 10 more possessions (7,036) than their opponents (7,026).
  2. Ranked in the bottom 10 in pace for the ninth straight season and the 21st time in the 25 seasons for which we have play-by-play data.
  3. Were 36-9 (0.800, 12th best) after leading by double-digits and 10-25 (0.286, 10th best) after trailing by double-digits.

Heat 2020-21 shot profile

 Area FGM FGA FG% Rank %FGA Rank
Restricted area 1,219 1,782 68.4% 1 30% 14
Other paint 379 911 41.6% 19 15% 27
Mid-range 294 730 40.3% 18 12% 15
Corner 3 234 662 35.3% 29 11% 4
Above-break 3 698 1,930 36.2% 12 32% 9

%FGA = Percentage of total field goal attempts

Heat notes – Offense:

  1. Ranked second in assist percentage, recording assists on 67.1% of their field goals. Passed on 46.4% of their drives, the league’s highest rate.
  2. Saw the league’s third biggest drop in 3-point percentage, from 37.9% (second) last season to 35.8% (19th) this season. Did rank in the top 10 (38.5%) after April 1.
  3. Scored 5.8 more points per 100 possessions after the All-Star break (113.5, 10th) than they did before it (107.7, 25th). Only Minnesota (+8.5) saw a bigger jump.
  4. Ranked last in clutch offense, scoring just 95.3 points per 100 possessions with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime. Ranked last in clutch 3-point percentage, shooting 19-for-83 (22.9%) from beyond the arc with the score within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
  5. Ranked last in second chance points per game (10.1).

Heat four factors

 Own/Opp. eFG% Rank FTA Rate Rank TO% Rank OREB% Rank
Own 54.6% 11 0.252 10 14.4% 21 24.0% 29
Opponent 54.2% 19 0.234 7 15.4% 3 26.7% 19

eFG% = (FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
FTA Rate = FTA/FGA
TO% = Turnovers per 100 possessions
OREB% = Percentage of available offensive rebounds obtained

Heat notes – Defense:

  1. Ranked in the top 10 defensively for the 18th time in the 25 seasons for which we have play-by-play data.
  2. Allowed 10.4 fast break points per game, fewest in the league.
  3. Opponents took 45.9% of their shots, the league’s highest rate, from 3-point range. 88% of their opponents’ 3-pointers, the league’s second highest rate, were assisted.
  4. Saw the league’s second biggest drop in defensive rebounding percentage, from 75.3% (third) last season to 73.3% (19th) this season.
  5. Ranked last with 4.0 blocks per game.
  6. Played 661 possessions of zone, second most in the league, according to Synergy play-type tracking. The 0.98 points per possession their zone defense allowed ranked 10th among the 23 teams who played at least 100 total possessions of zone.

Heat notes – Lineups:

  1. Starting lineup — Nunn, Robinson, Butler, Ariza and Adebayo — outscored its opponents by 6.4 points per 100 possessions, a mark which ranked 20th among the 30 lineups that played at least 200 minutes. It forced 18.3 turnovers per 100 possessions, the highest rate among those 30 lineups, but it grabbed just 47.5% of available rebounds, the third lowest rate among that group.
  2. Ranked 22nd (worst among teams that finished in the top eight in their conference) in aggregate bench point differential per 100 possessions (-1.4). Were outscored by 10.3 points per 100 possessions with Tyler Herro and Andre Iguodala on the floor together. That was the seventh worst mark among 309 two-man combinations that played at least 750 minutes.
  3. The Heat were 11.1 points per 100 possessions better with Butler on the floor (+5.2) than they were with him off the floor (-5.9). That was the sixth biggest differential among 233 players who played at least 1,000 minutes for a single team. Butler was one of two players — Rudy Gobert was the other — who played at least 1,000 minutes, with on-off differential of five points per 100 possessions on both ends of the floor.

Heat notes – Individuals:

  1. Bam Adebayo took only 43% of his shots from the restricted area (42%) or 3-point range (1%). That was the third lowest rate (higher than only those of DeMar DeRozan and Chris Paul) among 250 players with at least 300 total field goal attempts. He shot 72-for-170 (42.4%) from mid-range, up from 21-for-94 (22.3%) last season.
  2. Adebayo saw the third biggest jump in free throw percentage (from 69.1% to 79.9%) among 70 players with at least 150 attempts in each of the last two seasons.
  3. Trevor Ariza took 93% of his shots from the restricted area (33%) or 3-point range (59%). That was the seventh highest rate among 325 players with at least 200 field goal attempts.
  4. Jimmy Butler led the league in steals, averaging 2.1 per game. For the seventh time in his career, he had more steals (108) than personal fouls (71). Only three other players played at least 1,000 minutes with more steals than fouls this season and no other player has done it more than three times over the last 10 years.
  5. Butler had an effective field goal percentage of 40.4% on shots from outside the paint. That was the fourth worst mark among 201 players with at least 200 field goal attempts from the outside.
  6. Butler had a free throw rate of 56.5 attempts per 100 shots from the field, the fifth highest mark among 250 players (highest among non-centers) with at least 300 field goal attempts.
  7. The Heat were 23-8 when Tyler Herro had an effective field goal percentage of 50% or better and 6-17 when he didn’t.
  8. Kendrick Nunn shot 123-for-176 (69.9%) in the restricted area, the second best mark among 58 guards with at least 150 restricted-area attempts.
  9. Nunn saw the 10th biggest jump in effective field goal percentage (from 51.4% to 57.8%) among 110 players with at least 500 field goal attempts in each of the last two seasons. Duncan Robinson saw the third biggest drop (from 66.7% to 61.4%) among that same group.
  10. For the second straight season, Robinson had the highest first-quarter effective field goal percentage (69.9%) among players with at least 100 first-quarter field goal attempts.
  11. 95.6% of Robinson’s baskets, the highest rate among 177 players with at least 200 total field goals, were assisted.

Bucks hope Holiday pays off in playoffs

How much of a difference will Jrue Holiday make in the postseason?

Regular season matchup

Bucks won season series, 2-1

Bucks 144, Heat 97 (Dec. 29 @ Milwaukee)

Heat 119, Bucks 108 (Dec. 30 @ Milwaukee)

Bucks 122, Heat 108 (May 15 @ Miami)

Pace: 103.2 possessions (per team) per 48 minutes
Milwaukee OffRtg: 121.0 (2nd vs. Miami)
Miami OffRtg: 104.5 (21st vs. Milwaukee)

Total points scored, season series

Area MIL MIA Diff.
Restricted area 74 86 -12
Other paint 38 20 18
Total in paint 112 106 6
Mid-range 46 32 14
3-point range 174 144 30
Total outside paint 220 176 44
Free throws 42 42 0
Fast break points 51 37 14
2nd chance points 40 34 6

Matchup notes:

  1. The first two games took place before the Bucks traded for P.J. Tucker and the Heat traded for Trevor Ariza. Jimmy Butler missed all three games for the Heat, but the Bucks’ original top eight guys – their starters, Pat Connaughton, Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis – played in all three. Seven of those eight guys (all but Connaughton) averaged 12 or more points per game in the season series.
  2. The 29 3-pointers that the Bucks made on Dec. 29 are an NBA record. Their 31 fast break points that night were also their season high, and their 144 points on 103 possessions (139.8 per 100) was the 10th most efficient game for any team this season.
  3. The Bucks were 36-1 when they led by more than 12 points in the second half, with the one loss being the Dec. 30 game when they led by 14 in the third quarter. The Heat had a 31-8 run over a nine-minute stretch spanning the third and fourth. Over the three games, the Heat scored 94.4 points per 100 possessions in the first half and 115.5 per 100 in the second half.
  4. The Heat scored just 69 points on 77 possessions (89.6 per 100) against the Bucks’ starting lineup. Their 17.7 turnovers per 100 possessions were the highest rate for any team against the Bucks.
  5. Antetokounmpo’s 16.7 points per game were his lowest scoring average against any Eastern Conference opponent. His primary defender was Bam Adebayo and he shot just 7-for-18 against that matchup.
  6. Neither team played any zone in any of the three games, according to Synergy tracking.

* * *

John Schuhmann is a senior stats analyst for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

Latest