NBA playoffs: Heat overcome 16-point deficit in 4th quarter to stun No. 1 seed Bucks in overtime
Through three quarters, it looked as though the Milwaukee Bucks would live to play another day. The Miami Heat had something else to say about that. The Heat overcame a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter to eliminate the No. 1 seed Bucks from the playoffs in a 128-126 overtime thriller.
The contest shaped up to be a tight one in the first quarter, which ended with the Heat leading 36-33. The Bucks made adjustments in the second quarter, and took a six-point lead into halftime. That momentum carried over into the third quarter, where the Bucks broke things open to make it a 16-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
Then, the Bucks' offense went cold. Milwaukee missed its first seven shots in the fourth quarter. The team's first points in the quarter came with 8:26 to play, when Jrue Holiday hit a free throw. During that scoreless stretch by Milwaukee, Miami went on an 8-0 run. Following Holiday's free throw, the Heat trailed by nine points.
After a string of missed shots by Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Heat continued to claw their way back into the game. With 4:39 left to go in the fourth quarter, Jimmy Butler came alive. He drained his next two shots to cut the lead to five points. Wesley Matthews threatened to put things out of reach with a 3-pointer to give the Bucks an eight-point lead with 3:18 to go, but Butler hit his next three shots to tie the game at 111-111.
Both teams traded baskets in the final minutes. With under 30 seconds to go, Kevin Love fouled Khris Middleton, who hit both free-throw attempts to put the Bucks up by two. After a missed 3-point attempt by Butler, Holiday hit two free throws to make it a four-point game.
With the Heat facing impossible odds, Gabe Vincent hit a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds left to make it a one-point game. Holiday was quickly fouled, but made only. one free throw. With just 2.1 seconds to play, the Heat lobbed the ball to Butler under the basket. As he was falling to the floor, Butler put up the tying shot to send the game to overtime.
The two teams continued to trade buckets in overtime. After Love fouled out in the fourth quarter, the Heat lost Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry down the stretch. But the biggest foul of the night came with 40.1 seconds to play. Antetokounmpo fouled Max Strus on a 3-point attempt from way beyond the arc. Strus made 2-of-3 attempts. Antetokounmpo hit a free throw with 29.5 to play to make it a two-point game.
After a miss by Vincent, the Bucks had a chance to get up one final shot to either tie or win the game, but Grayson Allen lost track of time and failed to get up a shot before the clock ran out, giving the Heat the win.
Butler once again led the way for the Heat, dropping 42 points in the Game 5 victory. It continued an exceptional series from Butler, who scored at least 30 points in each of the Heat's wins. His performance included a 56-point outburst during a Game 4 win to put the Bucks on the brink of elimination.
With the win, the Heat advance to the conference semifinals to face the New York Knicks.
The Bucks, meanwhile, will once again try to regroup after a premature exit from the playoffs.