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Bucks start fast, roll Heat again 113-84, take commanding 3-0 series lead

By the third quarter, the most interesting thing left in this game was Heat fans counting down the clock on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free throws.

That’s because once again the Milwaukee jumped out to a fast lead, the Bucks’ defense shut down the Heat offense — outside of a spirited effort from Jimmy Butler — and Miami was down 15 early in the second quarter and never really got closer. Once again, the entire fourth quarter was garbage time.

The result was a 113-84 Milwaukee win that has the Bucks up 3-0 in the series and seemingly on a collision course with the Nets in the second round. Game 4 is Saturday, 1:30 ET (on TNT).

No team in NBA history has come back from 0-3 down to win a series. The Heat’s regular-season struggles —due to the coronavirus, injuries, and some lack of the cohesion seen from them in the bubble last year — pushed them into the No. 6 seed and this matchup. They will regret all that now; just a couple more wins would have provided an easier path than starting against a focused and improved Milwaukee team.

How bad were things for the Heat Thursday? At halftime, Butler had 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Every other Heat player was a combined 8-of-33 and Milwaukee was ahead by 13 — and the game didn’t feel that close.

At least the Heat fans could troll Giannis Antetokounmpo by counting down the clock on his free throws.

The Bucks spread the scoring around: Khris Middleton had 22, Jrue Holiday scored 19 with 12 assists, Antetokounmpo had 17 points and 17 rebounds, and off the bench Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis each had 11. The Bucks offense wasn’t spectacular.

It didn’t need to be against a Heat team with an 83.2 offensive rating (via Cleaning the Glass). Butler finished with 19, but the Heat as a team shot 37.6% and were 9-of-28 from three. Goran Dragic started for Kendrick Nunn, but that didn’t spark the offense. Bam Adebayo came on late and had 17, but at that point the game was decided.

And with it, the series may be decided as well.