3 takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks’ thrilling victory over Miami Heat

Mar 2, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jevon Carter, Jrue Holiday, Miami Heat: Max Strus
Mar 2, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The battle of the benches was outright dominated by the Miami Heat, but the Milwaukee Bucks got just enough

The Bucks and Heat are on the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to their second unit production this season. Milwaukee’s bench has struggled to contribute all year, which has gotten worse lately with Pat Connaughton and George Hill sidelined with injuries. Meanwhile, Miami has thrived in their bench minutes as they have a Sixth Man of the Year candidate in Tyler Herro in the mix. This difference in production would be a major dynamic in last night’s game as Miami’s bench outscored Milwaukee’s 52-17.

Herro finished as the game’s leading scorer as he tallied 30 points on 52.4 percent shooting from the floor off the bench, having provided Miami a spark they desperately needed with the starters struggling as mightily as they did. Caleb Martin contributed 12 points of his own while hitting two 3-pointers, while Max Strus and Dewayne Dedmon combined for 10 to round out the second unit scoring attack for the Heat. It was largely due to Herro’s stellar performance, but the Heat’s bench outmatched the Milwaukee Bucks’ second unit fairly easily.

Milwaukee’s leading bench scorers were Wesley Matthews and Jordan Nwora, who each scored a whopping five points. Aside from one big 3-pointer, Matthews could not buy a bucket for most of the night as he finished 1-of-6 from the floor in his 28-and-a-half minutes played. Meanwhile, it was a quiet night for Nwora as he played just five minutes in total. The rest of the bench minutes went to Serge Ibaka, Jevon Carter, and DeAndre’ Bembry, who combined to score seven points.

Looking at the numbers, every member of Miami’s bench had a positive +/-, while every member of Milwaukee’s bench except Matthews had a negative rating. In fact, Ibaka, Carter, and Bembry all finished in double-digit negatives for this game, showing how mightily the bench struggled to stay above water. The Heat thrived when their bench played, and the Bucks struggled when their’s was on the floor, but it is welcoming to see them survive a lopsided affair like this one.