3 things to watch for the Milwaukee Bucks in critical game vs Miami Heat

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 21: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 21: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo
Sep 4, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

How will Giannis Antetokounmpo fare against Bam Adebayo & the Miami Heat defense?

If there’s any team that can come close to claiming that they have Antetokounmpo’s number this season, it’s the Heat.

Through two games against Miami this season, Antetokounmpo has scored 30 points on 8-of-24 shooting. He’s gotten to the line 22 times, which is good but has only made 13 of those free throws. Things have not gone well for the reigning Finals MVP against the Heat this season!

A lot of the credit needs to go to Adebayo and  P.J. Tucker. In that opening game where the Heat ran the Bucks off the floor, Adebayo held Antetokounmpo to 2-of-8 from the field and was only called for one foul.

Adebayo has been considered one of the only players who can really give Antetokounmpo a problem, but having other great defenders around him certainly helps. Like Tucker!

In Antetokounmpo’s second game, it was Tucker that gave him problems. In those two meetings, Tucker’s held his former teammate to 3-of-9 shooting and forcing five turnovers (also only called for one foul). Both games are his worst by Basketball Reference’s Game Score metric at 8.0 (second game) and 11.9 (first game).

He’ll have to deal with both again tonight and it won’t be easy. Milwaukee will need to find ways to get Antetokounmpo easier lanes to the basket through empty side pick-and-rolls and if the defense converges, Antetokounmpo will need to make passes earlier instead of trying to force himself to the basket and hope to draw contact.

It also means it will be up to Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton to step up a little bit more. They did in the first round of last year’s playoffs, let’s see if they can do it again tonight.