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The Night in the Association: September 8th, 2020

Last night, we saw the Bucks go up against the Heat and facing elimination without their MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Lakers and Rockets go head to head in game 3.

Prior to these matchups, the Miami Heat were leading in the series 3-1 after the Bucks won game 4 in overtime due to Khris Middleton’s sensational play. The Rockets and Lakers are tied at one game apiece in their series after a sensational performance from LeBron and AD elevated the Lakers to victory. With that being said, let the breakdowns begin.

Bucks vs Heat

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For the first time since 2014, the era of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh in South Beach, the Miami Heat are returning to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat completed their five game series yesterday against the Milwaukee Bucks, winning comfortably by a score of 103-94.

The most shocking part of the Heat victory is the fact that it didn’t take too much for them to win. What does one mean by that? It means that with the exception of two players (Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic), no other Miami Heat player took over 10 shots. They didn’t need a heroic performance from one specific player in order to win. It was truly the definition of a team victory as the ball distribution was perfect on the court and the team as a whole was fairly efficient. 

Individually, Jimmy Butler once again led the way for the Miami Heat. It wasn’t an eye popping performance that would make any highlights in the future, but Butler did all the little things it took to win. He played tight defense on Middleton on multiple possessions, was extremely vocal, and was excellent at getting his teammates open looks.

Statistically, Jimmy had 17 points, 6 assists, and 10 rebounds on an extremely efficient 4/6 shooting from the field. His scoring production mainly came from the free throw line but it’s impressive how efficient he was and how he scored as much as he did on a low volume of field goal attempts.

For the most part, this game was a close battle, but the Heat’s second quarter, where they outscored Milwaukee 33-18 is eventually what propelled them to win this game and led by Tyler Herro’s 6 points on perfect shooting in that quarter. Milwaukee did have an impressive first quarter, where they outscored Miami by 9 points but Miami came out in the second and had even better production than Milwaukee had in the first.

For Milwaukee, Khris Middleton was awful. Coming off one of the best playoff games of his career, Middleton was extremely disappointing. He only had 23 points on 8/25 shooting as the go-to guy without Giannis yesterday.

When Giannis is healthy, that type of inconsistent play simply won’t be good enough to be a number two option on a championship team. Eric Bledsoe should be traded out of Milwaukee as soon as possible. He is a disappointment every year and yesterday, when facing elimination, Bledsoe shot 2/12 from the floor, which is just UNACCEPTABLE.

I was very high on this Milwaukee team, but yet again, they have disappointed. They need to make serious changes heading into this offseason. 

Lakers vs Rockets

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In what was a back and forth game for the most part, the Los Angeles Lakers managed to pull away with the victory by having a significantly better fourth quarter than the Houston Rockets.

LeBron James led the way with 36 points on 13/23 shooting from the field. Anthony Davis was also great scoring 26 points on 9/13 shooting from the field. Those are typical performances from the best duo in the NBA. But what we didn’t expect is how well Rajon Rondo would perform. 

Rondo was scorching hot last night, scoring 21 points on 8/11 shooting for the game. In the fourth quarter, he scored 12 points on 4/5 shooting and ultimately led LA to victory.

The thing with LA is that they always need a consistent third scoring option. Oftentimes when they get the help they need, it comes from various different people so one would be wary to depend on them on a night in, night out basis. However, with Rondo, they have an experienced guard who has shown up in high leverage moments in the past, especially in the playoffs.

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