Heading into the first round of the NBA Playoffs the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the best record in the league (58-24, .707 winning percentage) were naturally the favorites against the Eastern Conference 8th seed Miami Heat. Even though both sides saw star players go down to injury — Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo went down ten minutes into Game 1 and Heat shooting guard Tyler Herro injured his hand in the second quarter of the same game — the Heat were able to prevail 4-1 in the series thanks largely in part to two amazing performances in the final two, series-sealing games by the Heat’s Jimmy Butler. In Game 4, Butler had 56 points, was 19 for 28 from the field and added 9 rebounds and 2 assists. In Game 5, Butler came through once again with 42 points (17 for 33 from the field), 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
Although the Heat vs. Bucks playoff outcome was technically an upset, with the Heat heading into the first round contest as underdogs, Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart don’t think that the series should be labeled as such.
“Miami is a really good team. Really great coach. Obviously they’ve got some great players. And they just made plays,” Tatum told reporters on Thursday. “I guess people weren’t expecting them to win, but I wouldn’t call it an upset.”
Celtics point guard Marcus Smart echoed Tatum’s sentiment on the Heat vs. Bucks playoff outcome.
“I wasn’t too surprised,” Smart said. “The Heat is a dangerous team. We all know the Heat play different in the playoffs, and they played the Bucks really well,” Smart said. “I’m not as surprised as probably others, but I am surprised they went down the way that they went down.”
After clinching the series in Game 5, the Miami Heat will now face the New York Knicks in the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals starting Sunday.
Were you surprised by the Heat vs. Bucks playoffs outcome in the first round? Let us know in the comments.