The Milwaukee Bucks, the strongest team in the regular season, is one step away from being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. In a fast-paced game, the Miami Heat have managed to win (119-114) despite the return to the field of the big star of the Bucks, the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was returning from the injury he suffered in the first game when he fell on his back . With a record performance from Jimmy Butler, who has scored 56 points, Miami is up 1-3 in a best-of-seven playoff. It will be enough for him to win one of the three remaining games to qualify. You won’t have it easy.
This Monday, the Bucks have been ahead for almost the entire game and the presence of their star seemed to lead them to victory. The Greek has achieved a triple double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists. He has been accompanied by Brook Lopez with 36 points and 11 rebounds. But Miami turned the game around in a frantic last quarter, which began with an 11-point lead for Milwaukee.
The distance remained, and even extended to 14 points, until an incredible outburst from the Heat with a few minutes to go. The Heat were still trailing 101-89 after a layup by Lopez with 6:09 to go. It was then that a 13-0 run, capped by a dunk by Butler after a Bucks turnover, put Miami ahead (102-101) for the first time all night with 3:17 remaining. . From there, they have continued to be inspired and have managed to hold off the Bucks. In the end, it has been six magical minutes for the locals in which they have scored 30 points. The result of the last quarter has been 41-25.
The Heat are in the playoffs after qualifying in the last game of the playoffs. They’ve had a disappointing regular season, but they’ve come to the crunch in a state of grace. Beyond Antetokounmpo’s injury, Jimmy Butler and his team are doing their best. Bam Adebayo is once again the one with the best moments.
Butler’s performance this Monday has been huge. He has scored a career-high 56 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and provided two assists in 41 minutes. His series in field goals has been 19 baskets of 28 pitches. Although the comeback that he has led in the last quarter, in which he has scored 21 points, remains in the retina, his figures from the first quarter remain for history: in it, he has scored 22 of Miami’s 28 points, 20 of them consecutively in 5:45 minutes at the end of the period.
Only three players have scored more than 56 points in an NBA playoff game: Michael Jordan (63), Elgin Baylor (61) and Donovan Mitchell (57). Butler tied for fourth with performances by Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Wilt Chamberlain. His name is mixed with some of the greatest.
For the Bucks the moment of truth arrives much sooner than they expected. He was the betting favorite not only to eliminate the Miami Heat, but to win the NBA ring, but everything changed with Anteto’s injury. In the regular season, the Greek has scored 31.1 points and grabbed 11.8 rebounds per game, fifth and third in the NBA in those rankings. In addition, he has given 5.7 assists per game and his success rate has been 55.3%. That set of statistics (more than 30 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists with more than 50% accuracy) had only been achieved by Wilt Chamberlain in the entire history of the NBA.
The team has achieved the highest winning percentage in its history thanks also to the contribution of Khris Middleton and those of Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez, who have completed their best year. Now, however, they are on the brink of the abyss.
The fifth game of the playoff is played on Wednesday in Milwaukee. The Bucks are not throwing in the towel and, with Antetoukounmpo, they are capable of winning three straight games against Miami. But they have run out of margin for error. A hypothetical sixth and seventh games would be played on Friday in Miami and on Sunday in Milwaukee, respectively.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.