NBA

NBA Playoffs 2021: Milwaukee Bucks destroy Miami Heat to take commanding 3-0 lead

Dominant.

That's the only way to describe the Milwaukee Bucks 113-84 win over in Miami, which now gives them a commanding 3-0 lead in the first round series.

Bam Adebayo scored on a floater to register to the first points of the game but that was the high point for Miami, as Milwaukee bulldozed their way to their latest impressive win. Let's jump to some of the takeaways.

Jrue Holiday continues to stamp his influence

There have been many changes to each roster since their meeting in last year's postseason but none of which come close to having the impact of Jrue Holiday.

Holiday registered 19 points and 12 assists, giving him three straight double-doubles to start the series.

Tasked with defending Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic and Duncan Robinson during various stretches, Holiday's fingerprints have been all over the dominant Bucks' efforts on that end, while his timely scoring has given Milwaukee a reliable option they simply haven't had in previous seasons.

Middleton shuts the door

While the Bucks held on to a double-digit lead from early in the first quarter, the Heat did threaten to make a run during the middle section of the third period. With 5:19 to play in the period, Bam Adebayo knocked down a pair of free-throws to cut the score to 61-47 as the home crowd found their voice.

Immediately responding, Middleton dribbled into a contested triple from the top of the arc...nothing but net. On the next possession, Middleton drew contact to get to the charity stripe where he knocked down both.

A minute later he ripped the net for another triple and any sense of anxiety had been released as the Bucks had ran out to a 72-52 lead with 3:22 to play in the third.

It's been the tale of the series for Middleton, with the two-time All-Star hitting big shots on repeat to break the back of the opposition.

Middleton finished the night with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a typically impactful performance.

Bam's woes continue

Miami Heat came into this series needing monster efforts from Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

What they've received has been anything but that, with Adebayo's struggles proving the most detrimental to the team's ability to compete.

The All-Star big man did finish with 17 points and eight rebounds, but his inability to take advantage of the Bucks defensive strategy early in the game cost Miami any chance of securing momentum.

Brook Lopez and the other Milwaukee defenders have left Adebayo with a comical amount of space within the perimeter to walk into open shots and he simply hasn't been able to capitilise with shot after shot clanging off the rim.

Adebayo finished the first quarter 1-for-4 from the field while also picking up two offensive fouls in a disastrous start. By that point, the Bucks had already racked up a 12-point lead, which ultimately was as close as the Heat got.

Patient Giannis

The back-to-back MVP hasn't had things entirely on his terms in this series so far, despite his raw averages suggesting his impact is at its usual high level.

Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 17 points, 17 rebounds and five assists, as he was often forced to show patience in sharing the ball with his teammates.

As has been customary, Antetokounmpo has been met with a crowd when entering the paint, but on this night he refused to force up shots and instead facilitated, understanding his gravity was opening up lanes to the basket.

Later in the game, he was able to put his improved turnaround jump shot on display, knocking down a series of nothing-but-net baseline shots as the party began for Milwaukee. Unlike years prior, the Bucks don't need Giannis to score 30 points to win, with this series evidence of that fact.

Bench mob delivers again

Bobby Portis and Bryn Forbes continue to provide Milwaukee with steady offence off the bench.

The duo each scored 11 points against Miami, combining to shoot 4-for-9 off the bench.

Both signed in free agency in the offseason, the bench pair have become consistent scoring options for Mike Budenholzer off the bench. Many questions have been raised over their ability to defend in the postseason but so far, so good.

The bench mob is clicking.

Miami facing history

No team has ever come back from 3-0 down in a series.

If Miami are to make the matchup competitive, they will have to do something that 140 teams before them have failed to do.

It all starts with Game 4 - tip-off is scheduled for 11:00 p.m. IST, Saturday May 29.

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