Once again, Brook Lopez is the Bucks’ X-factor in Game 4 against Heat

MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 22 (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - APRIL 22 (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

Throughout three games of this first round series between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat, Brook Lopez’s play has varied game by game.

In Game 1, he scored just 10 points and struggled to contain Bam Adebayo on the defensive side of the floor. The Bucks needed more from Lopez in Game 2, and he delivered by tallying 25 points, having notched 10 more shot attempts than he did in Game 1. However, in Game 3, the Bucks and Lopez did not look to replicate this strategy, and the big man finished with six points on nine shot attempts. That’s just not acceptable, especially with Giannis Antetokounmpo out due to injury, and whether or not the Greek Freak is back, the Bucks need to correct this issue in Game 4.

Once again, Brook Lopez is the Bucks’ X-factor in Game 4 against Heat

The difference is Lopez’s approach offensively in Games 2 and 3 is baffling. In Game 2, Lopez shot 9-of-12 on shots less than eight feet, per NBA.com/stats. While he’s evolved as a player since he signed with the Bucks, Lopez’s strengths offensively remain close to the hoop. In Game 3, he did not utilize that whatsoever, having shot just 1-of-2 on shots from that same range. Sure, Miami’s defense had something to do with that, but Bucks players and coaches need to understand the importance of Lopez attacking the basket rather than settling for less efficient shots.

Just like in Game 2, the Bucks need to make it a point to have Lopez attack the rim early rather than settling for shots from these longer distances. It remains to be seen whether or not Giannis will play, as he is listed as questionable. If Antetokounmpo cannot go, “Brooklyn Brook,” referring to Lopez’s days with the Brooklyn Nets as one of the NBA’s best low post players, needs to make an appearance in what is essentially a do-or-die Game 4 in Miami tonight.

While Lopez’s production offensively will be essential, the Bucks will also need him defensively. The Defensive Player of the Year runner-up has gone to battle with Adebayo all series long. The Heat’s starting center has tallied 31 points on 14-of-32 shooting (43.8 percent) thus far, and the Bucks need Lopez to continue making everything difficult for him.

Brook Lopez’s two-way production will be crucial in tonight’s matchup. His play could very well be the difference-maker in this matchup, so the Bucks need to get him involved early on and keep it going from start to finish.

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Be sure to catch a pivotal Game 4 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat tonight.