Jimmy Butler set a Miami playoff record with 56 points, and the Heat rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 119-114 on Monday night, putting the NBA’s top overall seed on the verge of elimination.
Butler’s career best was likewise 56 points. He shot 19 of 28 from the field, 15 of 18 from the foul line, and grabbed nine rebounds for eighth-seeded Miami, which seized a 3-1 series lead against the Bucks in the Eastern Conference first round.
The Heat were led by Bam Adebayo (15 points), Caleb Martin (12 points), and Gabe Vincent (10 points). On Wednesday, Game 5 will be played in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez had 36 points and 11 rebounds. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and assisted 13 times in his return after a two-game layoff due to a bruised back.
And the Bucks led almost the whole game until the Heat rallied in the closing minutes.
Butler scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, and the Heat trailed 101-89 after Lopez’s layup with 6:09 remaining.
With 3:17 remaining, a 13-0 run capped by a Butler dunk after a Bucks turnover put Miami ahead for the first time all night – 102-101.
The lead changed hands four more times until Butler’s 3-pointer with 1:20 remaining gave Miami the lead for good.
On Miami’s following possession, he added a step-back jumper, punched the air in joy, and the Heat knew they’d be leaving with a 3-1 lead.
With a damaged lower back, Antetokounmpo missed Games 2 and 3 of the series, as well as much of Game 1. He worked out on Sunday, shotaround with the Bucks on Monday, was cleared to play, and looked as good as new.
Butler, on the other hand, was better than ever.
He set the tone early on, scoring the most points in a quarter of his career. He scored 22 of Miami’s 28 first-quarter points, including 20 in a run over 5:45 of the period.
And he added 21 more in the fourth, sparking a stunning comeback.
TIP-INS Bucks: Milwaukee has now made 138 3-pointers against Miami this season, including the playoffs. No club has ever made more than 126 against the Heat in a single season; Boston made 126 in 10 games last season. Antetokounmpo’s three postseason triple-doubles have all come on the road, with two coming in Miami and one in Boston.
Butler is averaging 16.5 points in the opening quarters of the series, with at least 13 points in each of the four games. … It was Heat coach Erik Spoelstra’s 99th playoff victory.
THE OLADIPO TRIBUTE
The game was Miami’s first since Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending ruptured left patellar tendon. Heat players wore Oladipo T-shirts as they entered the arena. “He told me, ‘Don’t cry for me.'” “I’m going to get through it all,” Spoelstra added.
FANDUEL SAYS: At FanDuel Sportsbook, Milwaukee closed as a 7.5-point favourite. The Heat had not been more than a 2.5-point underdog in any home game this season, and they hadn’t been such a huge underdog in their stadium since Feb. 27, 2019 – 177 games ago.
THE ERA IS OVER
With Aaron Rodgers’ trade from Green Bay to the New York Jets earlier Monday, it was the first time in the Bucks’ previous 2,611 games when neither Rodgers nor Brett Favre were deemed the Packers’ first-string quarterback – ignoring games impacted by injury.
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