In a thrilling clash, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard showcased their scoring prowess, combining for 65 points to propel the Milwaukee Bucks to a 131-124 victory over the Miami Heat.
The Bucks sealed a perfect 4-0 record in East Group B, securing a home quarterfinal in the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament.
Antetokounmpo’s 33 points and Lillard’s 32-point performance, along with a supporting cast led by Khris Middleton (17 points), Malik Beasley (16 points), and Brook Lopez (12 points), proved pivotal in the Bucks’ triumph.
Despite missing key players Jimmy Butler and Haywood Highsmith, the Heat, led by Bam Adebayo’s 31 points, showcased resilience with Kyle Lowry and Josh Richardson adding 21 and 20 points, respectively.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra expressed frustration. “It’s a shame because I felt like we played a very good basketball game, a very good offensive game in particular,” he said, via Zachary Weinberger of ClutchPoints.
Spoelstra acknowledged the defensive challenges posed by the Bucks, emphasizing the difficulty of defending against their exceptional shot-making abilities.
Despite the Heat’s strong offensive performance, Spoelstra lamented the missed opportunity, stating, “It’s a shame, I felt like we did enough to at least put ourselves in a better chance to win the game.”
The Bucks’ flawless execution in the final moments secured their victory, leaving Spoelstra and the Heat to reflect on what might have been in a closely contested matchup.