By Eduardo Andrade, Editor in Chief
Things are heating up in Orlando as Miami takes a 2-0 series lead following a 116-114 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. The Heat, along with the Celtics, are now one of two teams undefeated in the playoffs.
After an underwhelming 3-5 record in the bubble seeding games, the Heat have been on an absolute tear, sweeping the Pacers and finishing each game with at least a comfortable 9-point margin, and now upsetting the number 1 seeded Bucks and reigning MVP Giannis Antentokounmpo twice in a row.
Butler has been an absolute delight to watch, from his astonishing improvement behind the three point line to his lockdown defence, he has made a mockery of everyone who questioned his dedication to winning when he came to Miami. Butler held Antetokounmpo to only 18 points with 6 turnovers in game one of the series, while simultaneously dropping 40 against the top ranked defense in the league. Not to mention his clutch game winning free-throw, which took its sweet time falling in, hitting the front iron twice, before eventually dropping in and sealing the game.
Watching Bam Adebayo play has been a breath of fresh air after years of trying to find a true center that was more than just a warm body. (Sorry Chris Bosh, but we all know you were meant to be a power forward), Adebayo is the antithesis of Whiteside’s game. Whereas Whiteside struggled to understand the concept of the pass and couldn’t guard anybody more than 6 feet from the basket, Adebayo’s playmaking skills are above and beyond for a center while his ability to guard any position is a key to the Heat’s defense. Two years ago Bam was missing open dunks and layups as I worried he might never develop a soft enough touch for the NBA. Now he’s hitting over the shoulder, under the basket, and – 1s while punishing any defender who gives him space in the mid-range, his ball-handling abilities and decent range allows him to control the ball in the midrange, opening up the paint for backdoor cuts he frequently finds.
Goran Dragic’s dramatic jump in production has been exciting but hardly surprising, Dragic is the type of veteran that makes the whole team around him better.
Tyler “Baby Goat” Herro has actually taken his game up a notch, a surprising sight for a rookie, while he still struggles defensively, his offensive prowess is exactly what the Heat’s offence needs off the bench. I will never understand how it is humanly possible for somebody to shoot off-balance threes as effectively as Duncan Robinson, who’s ability to stop on a dime as he cuts across the arc for a handoff is a thing of beauty.
As much as it pains me to say this, trading for Iguodala and Crowder has vastly improved our second unit and it was worth getting rid of the struggling Winslow for some win-now assets.
Erik Spoelstra is just absolute class when it comes to coaching. Spoelstra has been ahead of the curve when it comes to increased use of zone defense for years now, his out of bounds plays led to a final second win in game two against the Bucks and his defensive matchups has caused some serious issues for Milwaukee.
If Miami can beat the first seeded Bucks, then, in the words of Kevin Garrnet, anything is possible.