3 Adjustments the Milwaukee Bucks must make in Game 2 vs. Miami Heat

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 16 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 16 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue Holiday, Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – APRIL 16 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

3 – Utilize the proper defensive matchups, especially on the wing

The Bucks pride themselves on being a good basketball team on the defensive end. Matchups are a crucial aspect of that, and there were some question marks leading into this series as to who is going to match up against who. The most prominent of them all revolved around Jimmy Butler, who has been a thorn in the side of the Bucks over the years. That proved to be the case again in Game 1, as Butler was excellent with 35 points on 55.6 percent shooting. Slowing him down will have to be a point of emphasis in Game 2; the question is who will be the one trying to do it.

If Giannis Antetokounmpo is back and healthy for the Bucks, he undoubtedly needs to draw the Butler assignment right from the opening tip. Many were puzzled as to why Antetokounmpo did not get it in Game 1 before he exited, as that has proven to be a solid formula in the past. During their first round matchup in 2021, Antetokounmpo held Butler to nine points on 3-of-16 shooting (18.8 percent) across 113.7 partial possessions, per NBA.com/stats. Giannis could possibly be the best-equipped Milwaukee Bucks player to handle Butler, and the team needs to use that.

Jrue Holiday, Wesley Matthews, and Jae Crowder should also get some extended time defending Butler, and they certainly will if Antetokounmpo has to miss time. These three were not perfect in Game 1, having surrendered 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting (53.8 percent), but they are the three who can play the best defense on Butler outside of Antetokounmpo. They possess the strength and length to make him work for every bucket and provided at least some resistance.

What cannot happen is Matthews and Crowder combining to play around 29 minutes in a game where the Bucks are having trouble playing defense. Sure, Crowder looked a bit lost to start the contest and had some slip-ups, but he’s still capable of providing defense at a high level versus someone like Butler when given the chance. He absolutely needs more than 12 minutes on the floor. Matthews did a good job of hounding Butler, which made it perplexing as to why he only played less than 18 minutes.

One of Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Matthews, or Crowder should be glued to Butler from the start of Game 2 until the final buzzer sounds.

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Stay tuned for a crucial Game 2 on Wednesday between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.