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Bucks storm back in second half to sweep Heat out of playoffs

The first half of Game 4 was a Miami Heat dream.

Giannis Antetokounmpo shot just 1-of-7, and the Bucks as a team shot 28.6% from 3. On the other side, the Heat role players stepped up: Trevor Ariza had 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, Tyler Herro found his stroke and knocked down 2-of-3 on 3-pointers and had 10 points. The stars were in the mix with Bam Adebayo getting to the rim, and Jimmy Butler being himself. It was an ideal half of Heat basketball.

Yet Miami led by just seven, 64-57.

Then came the third quarter. Khris Middleton sparked the Bucks, who put up 34 in the third, held the Heat to 21 as their shooting came back to earth. Suddenly Game 4 looked a whole lot like Games 1-3.

In the end, Milwaukee swept last season’s East champions out of the playoffs with a 120-103 victory.

Milwaukee now awaits the winner of the Brooklyn vs. Boston (the Nets are in control of that series up 2-1).

Miami heads into an offseason with a lot of questions about upgrading the roster around Butler and Adebayo, including whether to extend Duncan Robinson, picking up a $19.4 million option for Goran Dragic, getting Herro back to form, and if they can land another big name.

Miami was not going to quietly fade away early, but when Milwaukee made its run the Heat defense was not sharp, an issue for much of the season. Udonis Haslem was throwing chairs, trying to get his teammates to understand the gravity of the situation.

None of it mattered, the Bucks dismissed all the playoff demons from the bubble with this sweep — Jrue Holiday provided secondary shotmaking plus defense they lacked a year ago, the three balls fell, and when Antetokounmpo wasn’t playing like an MVP Milwaukee didn’t miss a beat. This Bucks team is playing brilliantly, but the real test is to come.

Brook Lopez led the Bucks with 25 points, Bryn Forbes scored 22 and shot 7-of-14 from 3, while Middleton had 20, and Antetokounmpo scored 20 and added 15 assists.