The Miami Heat were unable to beat a Milwaukee Bucks team bereft of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo for most of what was an edgy contest on Sunday. Erik Spoelstra’s side went up 3-0 with a huge victory on Friday which left them needing just one more to make their first trip to the Eastern Conference final in six years. However, they could not go a perfect four as the backs-to-the-wall Bucks dug in to win 118-115 without their main star.
Antetokounmpo left the game with a right ankle injury early in the second quarter — having aggravated a prior injury picked up in Game 3 on Friday — he was subsequently ruled out of the contest. The Bucks’ offense improved drastically despite them losing the Greece-born superstar.
Khris Middleton went on an offensive run in the third quarter, scoring 21 of his 36 points in the period to keep his team in the game.
A barren spell spanning over five minutes saw Milwaukee take a four-point lead late in the fourth but the Heat found some scoring from Butler and Adebayo to tie things up at 104 with just over two minutes left to play.
The score would get locked up at 107 apiece at the end following one out of two free throws made by Donte DiVincenzo with 1.9 seconds left. Dragic, who had an overall solid game, missed what would have been a game-winning three to hand the Bucks an opportunity in overtime.
Milwaukee grabbed said opportunity with both hands, with Middleton getting them over the line with a clutch three pointer sandwiched between two such long-distance buckets from Heat rookie Tyler Herro. Herro’s late triples were not enough to close the series out for Miami, who will hope to do so when they play the Bucks again on Tuesday.