3 X-factors in the Milwaukee Bucks’ first round series versus Miami Heat

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /
3 of 3
Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez, Miami Heat: Cody Zeller
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – FEBRUARY 24 (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images) /

3. Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez has been nothing short of spectacular this season. Just a season removed from back surgery, Lopez finished the season as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and had one of his best offensive seasons in years. Now, the Bucks are hoping Lopez can carry that excellence over into the postseason, as he could be huge, especially in this opening series.

People often forget how crucial Lopez was against the Heat in that first-round sweep in 2021 due to his defense. Across those four games, Lopez defended Miami’s Bam Adebayo for 145.4 partial possessions and held him to 33 points on 15-of-41 shooting (36.6 percent). If Lopez can replicate that success and keep Adebayo in check, it would help the Bucks tremendously in this series by limiting one of the Heat’s top scoring threats.

Similarly to Allen, Lopez’s outside shot will also be key in this series. The center shot a career-best 37.4 percent from three this season, and if he can keep it rolling in the playoffs, it would force the Heat to either come out to the perimeter to defend him, which would free up more room for the Greek Freak inside, or live with it. The looks will be there to start, and it will be crucial for Lopez to hit them with regularity as he did in the regular season.

Next. 3 Best individual Bucks performances of the 2022-23 regular season. dark

Stay tuned as the Milwaukee Bucks host the Miami Heat in Game 1 at Fiserv Forum tomorrow.