Bucks capitalize on hot start to roll past Heat 132-98
MILWAUKEE (AP) — When the Milwaukee Bucks conducted a roster makeover in the wake of an early playoff exit, the addition of Bryn Forbes didn’t earn nearly as much notice as some other moves.
Looks pretty good right now.
Forbes made six 3-pointers on his way to 22 points, and the Milwaukee Bucks routed the Miami Heat 132-98 on Monday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
The 27-year-old Forbes spent his first four seasons with San Antonio, but he signed with Milwaukee in free agency in November.
“That was a huge part in me coming here,” Forbes said. “You know that there would be these opportunities and we would be in the playoffs. ... It’s just great to be in this position, be in the playoffs again and have an opportunity and stage.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points, 13 rebounds and six assists for the Bucks, who were eliminated by the Heat in the second round of last year’s playoffs.
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Thursday in Miami.
Milwaukee shot 22 of 53 from 3-point range — including 15 of 29 in the first half — and never trailed while leading by as many as 36 points. The Bucks’ 22 3-pointers were their highest total ever in a playoff game.
“I don’t think we need to give ourselves a pep talk,” said Miami’s Bam Adebayo, who scored 16 points. “We’re grown men. At the end of the day, we are down 2-0. We know what we’ve got to do.”
Milwaukee’s two victories in this series couldn’t have looked more different.
The Bucks needed Khris Middleton’s tiebreaking jumper with 0.5 seconds left in overtime to pull out a 109-107 victory in Game 1. Milwaukee essentially put away Game 2 in the first quarter when its 3-point attack went from fizzling to sizzling.
“They made a lot of shots, but we didn’t make anything difficult on them or take anything away,” said Miami’s Jimmy Butler, who scored 10 points.
Milwaukee shot 5 of 31 from behind the arc and made its fewest 3-pointers of the season Saturday. The Bucks were 10 of 15 on 3-point attempts in the first quarter alone Monday.
The Bucks led 46-20 at the end of the opening period and 78-51 at the break, posting the highest first-half point total in their playoff history.
“It’s just how the game goes,” Forbes said. “It’s ebbs and flows. Some games you’re open a lot more. Some games you aren’t. Tonight I think we moved the ball great and had a lot of open shots.”
Forbes came off the bench to score 14 points in the first quarter while shooting 5-of-6 overall and 4 of 5 on 3-pointers.
Middleton added 17 points and Pat Connaughton had 15 while shooting 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.
Jrue Holiday’s 15 assists were one off the Bucks’ playoff record shared by Paul Pressey and Oscar Robertson. Holiday also had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Miami’s Dewayne Dedmon had 19 points and nine rebounds. Goran Dragic had 18 points.
Game 2 got increasingly physical in the second half.
Miami’s Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn picked up flagrant-one fouls on separate plays in the third quarter. Dragic received a dead-ball technical foul later in the period.
Ariza’s came after an unsuccessful attempt to prevent an Antetokounmpo layup. Both players fell to the floor. Ariza appeared to put his hands on Antetokounmpo’s chest and waist area while getting up.
Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis got a technical foul early in the fourth quarter after Miami’s Nemanja Bjelica fouled Antetokounmpo.
“A team like Miami, they’re always physical,” Antetokounmpo said. “When you go to the paint, they’re going to hit you. ... That’s why they’re a really good team. At the end of the day, I’ve got to keep my composure.”
Heat: This loss ended a string of 19 straight games in which Miami had scored at least 100 points. ... After shooting 20 of 50 from 3-point range in the opening game of this series, the Heat went just 8 of 28 on Monday.
Bucks: Milwaukee’s 10 3-pointers in the opening period tied a playoff record for 3-pointers in a quarter. The Cleveland Cavaliers made 10 3-pointers in the second quarter of a 123-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on May 4, 2016. ... Milwaukee outrebounded the Heat 61-36. The Bucks had a 64-51 edge on the glass in Game 1. ... As well as the Bucks shot from beyond the arc Monday, this didn’t approach their best 3-point performance against the Heat this season. They made an NBA-record 29 3-pointers in a 144-97 victory at Miami on Dec. 29.
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