The Milwaukee Bucks were in position to pick up their first win of the Eastern Conference Semifinals before the Miami Heat came charging back in the fourth quarter.
Miami outscored Milwaukee 40-13 in the final frame, turning a 12-point deficit into a 15-point win to take a 3-0 lead in the series. The Heat are still the only undefeated team remaining in the playoffs and are now one win away from reaching the Conference Finals.
Following this chaotic Game 3, our Kyle Irving and Scott Rafferty answer a few burning questions regarding this series.
What just happened in the fourth quarter?
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): We witnessed quite the collapse. Even though I just watched it, seeing in writing that the Heat outscored the Bucks 40-13 in the fourth quarter blows my mind. Credit to Jimmy Butler, who exploded for 17 points, nine of which he scored at the free throw line. The Bucks had no answer for him and couldn't get anything going themselves on the other end of the court.
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I'm still trying to digest what I just watched.
A 40-13 run throughout an entire quarter?! That's absolutely inexcusable when you're on the brink of going down 3-0. I think Milwaukee thought Miami was just going to give them one, trailing by 14 points heading into the fourth quarter. When the Heat came out gunning, the Bucks had no counterpunch in them.
Yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo looked to be in pain after rolling his ankle earlier in the contest, but what about the rest of the team? Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and George Hill all went 0-for-2 from 3 in the fourth. Eric Bledsoe and Donte DiVincenzo missed one 3 each. As a team, they went 0-for-10 with some decent looks from the perimeter.
Like Scott said, Butler was a problem in the fourth quarter, Bam Adebayo was a beast, they got great minutes on both ends of the floor from rookie Tyler Herro. The Heat just wanted it more - it's as simple as that.
Are the Heat the team to beat in the East now?
Rafferty: The Heat are yet to lose a game in the playoffs and are now up 3-0 against the team that steamrolled their way to the best record in the league this season. They have to be the team to beat, right? My answer could change depending on what happens between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors over the next few games in their series, but as of right now, it's the Heat.
Irving: Without a doubt in my mind. They're the only undefeated team remaining in the playoffs. They're absolutely dominating the team that was unstoppable all season long. The reason they're the team to beat is because they're carrying themselves like they're the team to beat.
The Heat didn't go into this series hoping and praying that they'd upset the No. 1 seed. The Heat went into this series with the attitude that they were the better team, and that's exactly what you're seeing unfold in front of you.
They're so versatile on defence that they can match up with anyone. Their offence is looking better than it has all season with multiple different players stepping up after Butler, Adebayo and Goran Dragic each game.
I would not want to play Miami right now.
Would this series be different with Malcolm Brogdon?
Rafferty: Uh, yeah. It sure would be nice right now if the Bucks had another player who could knock down an open 3 and make a play with the ball in their hands. I don't know if he would've solved all of Milwaukee's issues all by himself - this isn't simply a matter of them being a shooter and ball handler short - but there's no denying that Brogdon is someone who would be making a difference in this series.
Irving: Absolutely. Like Scott said, the Bucks have been struggling without a competent playmaker to make things happen when the ball isn't in Giannis' and Middleton's hands. Even when the ball is in Antetokounmpo's hands and defences are collapsing all around him, the role players who knocked down 3s all season long have not been able to get going when it matters most. Not to mention, Brogdon was pretty solid in their first round series against the Heat, posting about 22 points and 10 assists per game.
Will the Bucks be the first-ever NBA team to come back from down 3-0?
Rafferty: This is a pretty easy no for me. As dominant as the Bucks were in the regular season, they haven't looked like the same team in the season restart. Plus, the Heat have flat out outplayed them through three games. Based on what's happened through the first three games, the Bucks have given me no reason to believe that they can beat the Heat three times in the next four games. This Heat team is playing with a chip on their shoulder and are running like a well-oiled machine right now.
Irving: No shot. I give it a 0% chance.
The Bucks don't look right - they haven't almost the entire time they've been in the bubble. They're being outplayed in all facets of the game and the Heat don't look like they plan on taking their foot on the gas any time soon.
It's never happened before in NBA history for a reason, but I think that becomes even more difficult in the bubble. Down 3-0 means you're one game away from going home, leaving this Disney campus that you've been in since the end of July. I'm not sure they even take Game 4, but let's see what type of fight this team has left in them.
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