The Miami Heat are the first team to advance into the conference finals after they’ve completed an upset of the NBA’s best regular-season team.
The Heat topped Milwaukee 103-94 in Tuesday’s Game 5, finishing off a gentleman’s sweep of the Giannis-less Bucks. The soon to become a two-time MVP was sidelined due to an ankle injury, as he couldn’t be out there to help his team extend the series and keep their hopes of making a deep postseason run alive.
“I wanted to play. You know I wanted to play. I know I wanted to play. My coach knows I wanted to play, but at the end of the day, the organization put my health over Game 5. That’s big.”Giannis Antetokounmpo, ESPN
Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragić both dropped 17 points, as four other Heat scored in double figures. Jae Crowder scored 16, Tyler Herro had 14, Bam Adebayo scored 13 and Kelly Olynyk dropped 12, as Miami’s balanced offensive machinery overcame a 13-point first-quarter deficit and advanced to the ECF.
Khris Middleton had a team-high 23 points for the Bucks, as Brook Lopez added a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds. Donte DiVincenzo, who took Antetokoumpo’s starting spot, scored eight of Milwaukee’s first 16 points and finished the contest with 17 in 27 minutes of action. The Bucks as a team shot .363 from the field and .273 from behind the line and were still able to keep the game close. But the Heat were once again a better team, as they became the lowest-seeded group to reach the ECF since the Knicks did it in ’99.
“We have a deep, deep respect for that franchise, and it’s unfortunate that Giannis couldn’t play tonight.”Erik Spoelstra, ESPN
Giannis, who is eligible for a supermax $254 million, 5-year deal this summer, will be the biggest talking point during the offseason, as teams are lining up to land one of the association’s best players if he is to refuse to sign the extension. According to The Greek Freak himself, that’s not happening.
“Some see a wall and go in another direction. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”Giannis Antetokounmpo, Yahoo Sports
“If winning a championship was easy, everyone would have one,” said Giannis after another disappointing playoff campaign. It seems a 25-year-old superstar still hasn’t run out of patience and that we will keep watching him with the Bucks logo on his jersey. “We’re going to keep working. I’ve got confidence in my teammates.”
This goes along with the public perception of the Greek Freak. He doesn’t strike you as a guy who’s going to jump teams in pursuit of the ultimate validation, at least not in this stage of his career. But I would still take his words with a grain of salt. Kyrie’s decision to leave the Celtics taught us that.
If in any case Giannis doesn’t sign an extension, and it becomes obvious he no longer wants to play for the Bucks, check out which two teams are the favorites to land The Greek Freak in ’21.
It’s time for Giannis to make his decision. The whole NBA world is waiting.