Heat Rally Again To Win In OT, Eliminate Top-Seeded Bucks

Apr 27, 2023, 9:13 AM | Updated: 9:44 am

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jimmy Butler was an extraordinary playmaker while leading the Miami Heat to one of the most stunning first-round playoff upsets in NBA history.

It turns out he also was a heck of a play caller.

Butler scored 42 points and the Heat staged a second straight stunning fourth-quarter rally before winning 128-126 in overtime on Wednesday night in Game 5 to eliminate the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks.

“We’re a resilient group,” Butler said. “We stick together through everything.”

The Heat advanced to a second-round series with the fifth-seeded New York Knicks, who completed their 4-1 series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier Wednesday. Game 1 is Sunday in New York.

Miami, which had to win a play-in game with Chicago just to get to the first round, became the sixth No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 seed. The last time it happened was in 2012, when a Philadelphia 76ers team featuring current Bucks guard Jrue Holiday capitalized on Derrick Rose’s knee injury to beat the top-seeded Chicago Bulls.

Two nights after outscoring the Bucks 30-13 in the final six minutes of a 119-115 victory in Miami, the Heat came back from a 16-point, fourth-quarter deficit and tied the game on Butler’s layup with half a second left in regulation.

The Heat trailed 118-116 with 2.1 seconds left and called a timeout when coach Erik Spoelstra drew up a play. Butler didn’t like what he saw and spoke up about it. Spoelstra then changed his mind and set up the tying play, which had Gabe Vincent throwing an inbounds pass to Butler, who was waiting underneath the basket to force overtime.

“We’ve practiced variations of that play with a bunch of different guys,” Spoelstra said. “I was going to do a different version of it. He just said, ‘No, let me be that guy.’ I just said, ‘OK, but what if we can’t get that pass.’ He said, ‘I’ll get it. Don’t worry about it.’ ”

Butler delivered, as he did this entire series. He averaged 37.6 points, including a 56-point effort in Game 4.

“He’s desperate and urgent and maniacal and sometimes psychotic about the will to try to win,” Spoelstra said. “He’ll make everybody in the building feel it. That’s why he is us and we are him. That’s the way we operate as well.”

The Heat advanced to a second-round series with the fifth-seeded New York Knicks, who completed their 4-1 series win over the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier Wednesday. Game 1 is Sunday in New York.

Bam Adebayo put the Heat ahead for good by dunking in a putback of Butler’s missed driving layup attempt with 4:44 left in overtime. The Bucks trailed 128-126 and had the ball in the closing seconds, but the clock ran out before Grayson Allen could take a shot as he drove to the basket.

The Bucks had timeouts available but didn’t use them in the closing seconds of overtime. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said he didn’t regret not using a timeout in that situation. He did regret not calling a timeout with half a second left in regulation after Butler’s basket.

Adebayo had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Gabe Vincent added 22 points.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 38 points and 20 rebounds for the Bucks, though he shot just 10 of 23 on free-throw attempts. Khris Middleton added 33 points.

Asked after the game if a first-round playoff exit made this season a failure, Antetokounmpo took issue with the question.

“There’s no failure in sports,” Antetokounmpo said. “There’s good days, bad days. Some days you’re able to be successful. Some days you’re not. Some days it’s your turn. Some days it’s not your turn. That’s what sports is about. You don’t always win.”

Milwaukee led 102-86 after three quarters but shot just 5 of 25 from the floor in the fourth quarter and overtime. This marked the biggest deficit a winning team ever had faced to start the fourth quarter of a series-clinching victory, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

The Heat tied the game on two occasions late in the fourth quarter before Middleton made two free throws to put Milwaukee back ahead with 27.8 seconds left.

Holiday made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to make it a four-point game. Vincent made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to one with 8.4 seconds left.

After getting fouled with 2.1 seconds left, Holiday missed his first free throw before sinking the second to make it 118-116. But Vincent’s outstanding pass to Butler helped force overtime and eventually send the Heat to the second round.

“Everybody who got on that bus believed,” Adebayo said. “I felt everybody believed. And we did something a lot of people thought we couldn’t do.”


Heat: Udonis Haslem picked up a technical foul from the Heat bench after exchanging words with Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis during a second-quarter timeout. …Spoelstra earned his 100th career playoff coaching victory. The 100th win enabled him to tie Larry Brown for fifth place on the all-time list Spoelstra’s 99 wins put him in a tie for sixth with Red Auerbach. … The Heat improved to 3-1 in postseason series against the Bucks. The Heat won first-round series in 2013 and 2020 and lost a first-round series in 2021.

Bucks: Wesley Matthews returned to action for the first time since straining his right calf in Game 1. “Tough is probably a gross understatement,” Matthews said after a Wednesday morning shootaround as he discussed the pain of missing three playoff games. … The Bucks went out in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2018, when they lost in seven games to Boston as a No. 7 seed.



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Heat Rally Again To Win In OT, Eliminate Top-Seeded Bucks