Last night, there were two highly anticipated postseason matchups. We saw game 2 between the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks (Miami led 1-0 prior to this matchup) and a game 7, must win matchup between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. With that being said, let’s get right into the breakdowns of each game.
Bucks vs Heat
It is disappointing when a breakdown of what had the makings of being a great game has to start off with breaking down horrible officiating. Marc Davis, with all due respect, what was your thought process on the final two calls? Especially the first foul call on Goran Dragic. Neither play should’ve been called a foul, but being right next to the play, an official must realize that Khris Middleton leaned into Dragic, and that the call shouldn’t have been made which allowed the Bucks to tie the game.
Eventually, the basketball gods felt that they owed the Heat one, so on the other end for the final possession, another bad call was made which ultimately cost the Bucks the game. Yes, there was contact on the play but it was very minimal and after the shot. But it is understandable that the call was made. If one was to make a bad call on the other end, making another bad call on the last play evens it out.
With that being said let us dive into the individual performances. Right here, you will not find the lazy narratives that surround the presumable back-to-back MVP and DPOY Giannis Antetokounmpo. The bottomline is he had a great game. He had 29 points on 10/18 shooting from the field and grabbed 14 rebounds. On top of that he made 9/13 free throws, which is something he massively improved upon from the last game, where he shot 4/12 from the charity strike.
I understand that he missed two key free throws down the stretch, but in the fourth quarter for the most part, he was excellent. He had 11 points and 5 rebounds on 4/6 shooting to close out the game. The supporting cast around him only outscored him by six points in the fourth, which shows the lack of help he had down the stretch.
For Miami, Jimmy Butler did not have his best offensive game, but a collective effort was the key factor for them in this victory. Dragic led the way with 23 points, but each starter scored in double figures and they had 28 combined points from Tyler Herro and Kelly Olynyk off the bench. The Miami Heat are white hot right now. The Bucks MUST win the next game, otherwise their season is all but over. However, placing all the blame on Giannis Antetokounmpo is just flat out lazy and delusional.
Rockets vs Thunder
A terrible offensive performance from James Harden, as he attested to post game, was made up by a clutch defensive possession made by him. With under 5 seconds left, he blocked a potential game-winning shot from Luguentz Dort which ultimately led the Rockets winning this heavily contested game 7.
The number one clutch team in the league in the Oklahoma City Thunder, quite frankly couldn’t buy a bucket down the stretch. They had multiple chances to take a lead with under five minutes left and they failed to execute by missing multiple open shots. Not to mention, the Rockets’ offense was helping them out by missing shots left and right down the stretch as well. They even had a chance to win the game after the blocked shot by Harden, but they failed to execute an inbound play, which is something they had perfected all season.
Statistically, Lu Dort was sensational. Known for being a defensive monster, Dort was a monster on the offensive end as well. He tallied 30 points on 10/21 shooting while making 6 3-point shots. He also played exceptional defense on James Harden, who shot 4/15 from the field and had strong criticism of his own offensive performance like I mentioned earlier.
Chris Paul had 19 points himself along with recording a triple double, being the oldest player to record one in a playoff game. It was unfortunate to see him not get a chance to win the series for the Thunder as he didn’t get the ball on the botched final possession.
All in all, this was a great season for Oklahoma City. They overachieved and were absolutely sensational in the trade market by acquiring a better point guard than the one they had previously (Russell Westbrook) along with two firsts from the Rockets. They also received their future star in SGA along with four firsts and Danillo Gallinari from the Clippers in the Paul George trade.
At the end of the day, their consistent clutch play didn’t show up when they needed it most, and it unfortunately resulted in the end of their miraculous season. For the Rockets, they are lucky they made it out for the first round, as they survive and live to go to battle against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round.