Anteto looks into the abyss

The Bucks went 12 up in the fourth quarter, but only scored 13 more points. Miami one win from the East finals with an Imperial Butler.


What was given is over. At least that's the feeling after Game 3 of the Heat-Bucks tie. The one that Budenholzer's men were forced to win and have lost, falling prey to fear and an embarrassing last period in which they have only scored 13 points (6 of 23 in field goals and 0 of 10 in triples), 1 in the last five minutes of the game. Something inexplicable or that explains many things, especially the short circuit inherent in this team in the playoffs and, above all, the coach who directs it, we will see how long. Mission impossible now for the Bucks, who face something unprecedented and that nobody has ever managed to do: come back from 3-0. In none of the 139 previous times has it happened and no one expects it to happen now, more for sensations than for results, because of the little passion transmitted by a team that arrived in need but found itself without a soul, as if assuming the inevitable while waiting for the tables to change. alone or for a miracle to happen. Something that, no matter how much they are at Disney, does not usually happen.

The Bucks came out focused, but failed to break away from a Heat that sapped their morale and prevented them from escaping. Without Olynyc and with an Iguodala touched (6 + 3 + 3), Milwaukee could only go seven ahead at halftime (50-57) before giving a boost in the third period, with some fantastic minutes from a Giannis that, however , was lost in the end. The Greek finished with 21 points, 16 rebounds and 9 assists in less than 35 minutes (another inexplicable decision by Budenholzer), but he was missing in the last minutes of the match despite trying again and again, doing what only he knows how to do. But it seems, at times, the only thing he can do: penetrate, push into the zone, get under the basket and take advantage of his physique to catch offensive rebounds, dunk or score a layup. Something useful in a regular season in which the games are prepared quickly and one is played thinking about the next, but not for a playoffs in which you are continuously thinking about your opponent for one to two weeks. And less with a genius like Spoelstra, who has devised everything to prevent the forward from stopping, not letting him run, harassing him with double defenses, forcing him to double the ball (not his greatest talent) and floating him when he is in the triple, one of its maximum deficiencies. Today, 0 out of 7 from there, little more than a blush.

The last period was the realization that the Bucks were without conviction and the Heat with a self-esteem of the same size as the immeasurable figure of a Pat Riley who recently arrived at the bubble and watched everything from the stands, his scrutinizing gaze fixing his eyes on a team he has created as he wanted, with players he hasn't even drafted (Kendrik Nunn, Duncan Robinson) and the signing of a Butler who went into exile in the past and has found his place in the world (and in the NBA) on a team where people work (the way he likes it), act as a leader and mentor and are under the command of a coach who likes (he and everyone else). 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists have been his numbers tonight, scoring 17 goals in the last period and adding too much from the free throw (14 of 19), the place from which he sentenced the second game of a one-color but exciting tie , with a dominator not entirely unexpected but exceedingly superior to a rival without answers or hope. By Butler, the Heat's choral play and a man named Bam Adebayo, paired with Anteto and producing on both sides of the court; today, 20 + 16, with 7 of 8 in field goals and 6 of 7 in free throws, closing gaps and driving his team when it was necessary to do so. And all this apart from the short-circuit of the fourth period, which ended 40-13 in what is the largest point difference between two teams during a final quarter in the history of the playoffs.

Little more can be added about the game, which seemed to fall on one side but ended on the other and with a result (15 up at the end) even too bulky. But it is the same to lose one that fifty-fourth meeting can be too long to some Bucks who are more out than in and are already thinking about returning home while they have seen how, in recent days, different destinations have returned to sound for Anteto. We'll see how this ends and what are the consequences of the debacle (if they lose 4-0 it has no other name) and if it takes Budenholzer (something probable) and an Anteto that the Bucks can try to transfer before he becomes free agent in 2021 (possible). The Heat rub their hands and smell a wounded and almost sentenced opponent, while the Bucks still wonder how they got to where they are and why they have gone from aiming for 70 wins to running out of arguments in a final phase where much people already thought they would not. The Heat smile and Anteto looks out over a cliff where he may end up falling. And the fall can be, beware, very painful.

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