Updated: Sep 10, 2020
Holy shit! The Miami Heat have just removed the top seeded Milwaukee Bucks from the NBA Playoffs.
For the Bucks, the narrative from this morning's loss might be the injury to Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek freak suffered a right ankle sprain early in the 2nd quarter of Game 4, he battled to shoot a couple of free throws but ultimately couldn't go on. He did not play in Game 5.
In his 11 minutes in Game 4, Antetokounmpo had already dropped 19 points as the Bucks tried to avoid elimination in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.
What about Miami?
Perhaps Jimmy Butler aside, there are no touted superstars on their roster. They have just relied on what you deem 'role players' to elevate their game and bring playoff type intensity.
Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder.
The forgotten man? Perhaps it's coach Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. It's easy to think that whilst Spoelstra is a two-time NBA Champion, having won in 2012 & 2013, that those wins came purely due to the fact that he had Le Bron James.
Well, Le Bron James, with some help from Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Spoelstra has been with the Heat since 1997 and has been head coach since 2008. What he has done with this group is nothing short of outstanding. Late in Game 4, Mark Jackson and Stan Van Gundy very rightly suggested that coach Spoelstra was heading for the Hall of Fame. Who could possibly argue?
You would have to say that the Heat now are clear favourites to win the Eastern Conference, they're 8-1 in the Playoffs! With the Celtics & Raptors series poised at 3-2, the Heat will now get a few days off.
What now for Milwaukee?
Beaten in the conference semis 4-1 as the number 1 seed. Not a good look, is it?
The injury to Giannis didn't help, but let's be clear, they were struggling, particularly offensively well before Game 4. The Heat just out-hustled them the entire series.
Does coach Mike Budenholzer go? Milkwaukee boasted the best record of the regular season, 56-17 but couldn't get it done in the playoffs. Coach Bud has gone from Coach of the Year contention to maybe losing his job.
Giannis himself is an unrestricted free agent in 2021 and will have to make a decision as to whether he stays in Milwaukee or looks elsewhere. There's no doubt he'll sign a max contract somwhere, but the past two years, his Bucks side have failed to get it done at the business end of the year.
Perhaps we didn't think much of it at the time, but the Game 1 loss to Orlando back in the first round of the playoffs might have told us more of a story than we thought in the first round of the playoffs.
I don't have the answers for Milwaukee, all the credit just goes to Miami and coach Spoelstra in this. Simply stunning.