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Middleton lifts Bucks in OT without Giannis, extends series against Heat

The Bucks pulled off a huge win without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the second half, forcing a Game 5 against Miami.

Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks, Donte DiVincenzo of the Milwaukee Bucks and George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks react during overtime in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 06, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

FINAL: MIL 118, MIA 115 — The Bucks somehow pulled off a miracle, extending their season and the series to Tuesday. Without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the second half and OT, the Bucks got a win behind Middleton’s 36 points, including a huge 3-pointer to give Milwaukee the lead. Tyler Herro made things interesting with a late 3 of his own, but the Bucks were able to hold on.

The Heat were miserable on offense in the fourth and in OT. They scored a combined 27 points in the final 17 minutes of the game. Forced shots and turnovers really hurt Miami and now the series is 3-1 heading into Game 5 on Tuesday. Bam Adebayo finished with 26 points, 12 boards and 8 assists in 44 minutes. Jimmy Butler had his worst game of the series, shooting 6-of-15 from the floor for 17 points. Overall, the 3-point shooting was lax in Game 4. Miami shot 36.2% from 3, though it was mostly because of Goran Dragic (1-of-9).

End of Regulation — Welp, we’ve got overtime in Game 4. The Bucks without Giannis for an entire half and play some of their best basketball of the postseason. Donte DiVincenzo had a chance to win it but split a pair of free throws with 1.9 seconds left. Goran Dragic bricked a 3-pointer at the buzzer and we’ve got extra basketball. This is bad news for under bettors.

Fourth Quarter — We’re at a long review, as is tradition late in these playoff games. The Bucks are up 106-104 and this one is going to go down to the wire. Jimmy Butler appeared to get fouled but they’re looking at who touched the ball before it went out of bounds. The Bucks get the ball and there’s no foul call, which was blatant. The refs probably saw the missed call too. Oh well, let’s get back to playing.

Third Quarter — The Heat have a narrow lead after a big third, scoring 40 points. The Bucks also kept things up without Giannis, so it’s only 88-86 right now. Khris Middleton is having his best game of the postseason without Giannis, go figure. Middleton is up to 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor. He’s carrying the team at this point and will need to keep it up in the fourth.

Halftime — Giannis has been ruled out for the rest of the game due to an ankle sprain. The Bucks actually responded without him, outscoring the Heat 28-17 in the second quarter and lead 50-48 at halftime. It’s going to be an uphill battle for Milwaukee to pull off this win and extend the season.

Giannis had scored 19 points in the 11 minutes he saw on the court. After Giannis left, Eric Bledsoe got it going and George Hill hit a couple of 3-pointers to keep the Bucks in the game. We should expect Bledsoe and Middleton to have to carry the offense. Hill should also be involved. Marvin Williams likely sees increased playing time in the second half at PF. Mike Budenholzer will have to stretch the bench out.

The live line on DraftKings Sportsbook is -3 and it appears to be rapidly going in favor of the Heat in the second half. The O/U has also plummeted to 208.5 after being up around 220 before tip-off. So if you’ve got the Heat and the under (as I alluded to), things are looking good in the second half.

UPDATE: Giannis Antetokounmpo has left the game in the second quarter after re-injuring that ankle that he hurt in Game 3. He’s gone back to the locker room and is getting treatment. We’ll see if he comes back into the game. The ankle is getting pretty torn up at this point. That being said, season on the line, you’ve gotta expect Giannis gets back in after they treat him.

Second quarter — The Bucks opened the quarter with seven straight points and it’s 31-29. That’s some response after being trashed by pretty much everyone on social media after that first quarter. Kyle Korver just banged a 3-pointer to cut the lead to two. We’ll see if this holds up. The games have mostly been close through three quarters with Miami pulling away in the last frame.

First Quarter recap — If anybody expected the Milwaukee Bucks to come out in Game 4 on the brink of elimination with some sense of urgency, well, you were wrong. The Bucks are trailing 31-22 after the first quarter of Game 4 down 3-0 in the series. This is the No. 1 overall seed and soon-to-be MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. They might as well just announce his second straight MVP win now because he won’t be in the bubble much longer if this continues.

It’s not all Giannis’ fault though. He’s got 14 points and 4 boards in 9 minutes in the first. Yes, that’s 14 of the Bucks’ 22 points in the quarter. He needs some help. Nobody is helping him and the team still seems very flat on both ends. Khris Middleton is 1-of-5 from the floor. Eric Bledsoe has taken one shot. Things just can’t get worse for the Bucks right now.

Meanwhile, the Heat shot nearly 50% from the floor in the first. Bam Adebayo is up to 10 points and is looking to smash that total of 15.5. Jae Crowder continued his hot shooting from outside. He’s got two 3-pointers so far. The defensive intensity from Miami is just night and day compared to Milwaukee. It’s clear that Giannis isn’t a leader yet and Jimmy Butler is showing him how it’s done.