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Bucks vs Heat Game 2 Predictions: Expect Both Teams to Key In on the Defensive Side

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published April 19, 2023
11 min read
  • The Heat lead the season series 3-2 and playoff series 1-0 
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tyler Herro were injured in the first half of Game One 
  • The Bucks are huge favorites despite losing by 13 in Game One

The Milwaukee Bucks will host the Miami Heat in Game Two of the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs after a 130-117 Game One loss left both teams devastated.

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Bucks vs Heat Game Two Odds

Odds taken from Caesars Sportsbook

OddsSpreadMoneylineTotal

Bucks

-8.5 (-110)
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-365
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Over 221.5 (-110)
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Heat

+8.5 (-110)
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+285
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Under 221.5 (-110)
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Bucks vs Heat Game 2

What Happened in Game One?

The Heat got off to a fast start against the Bucks in Game One and went mostly unchallenged the rest of the way en route to their 13-point victory. Giannis Antetokunmpo injured his lower back on a charge attempt by Kevin Love in the first quarter and did not return, which was a major blow for the 2021 league champions.

Without Giannis in the lineup, playoff Jimmy Butler finally coalesced. The heralded postseason performer was unimpressive in his team’s two play-in games but ended this game with a 35-point double-double and was the driving force for his squad in all four quarters. 

The injury bug hit Miami hard too, however, as shooting guard Tyler Herro broke a pair of fingers diving for a loose ball in the second quarter. He ironically nailed a corner shot in the following seconds but was soon withdrawn for the game and could be out for the rest of the postseason but is at minimum out for the series.

Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis had nice games but could not will their team back from the huge early deficit. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer revealed that Giannis’ MRI went well and there was no major damage, and he is optimistic that he will be back soon—there is no definitive timetable, but he is probably for Game Two as of Tuesday evening.

Key Stats from the Last Game

Butler led all scorers with 35 points and had 11 assists and five rebounds to boot. Bam Adebayo had 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and the Heat made 15 of 25 three-point attempts, close to double their regular standard (34.5%). 

Middleton had 33 points and nine rebounds in the losing effort, although that is a very encouraging sign for Bucks fans. Middleton is Giannis’ co-star but had not been playing like it during his return from injury, though he has continued to improve and started his postseason off with a bang. Portis had 21 points and eight rebounds but missed all five of his three-pointers.

The Heat will probably never shoot the ball as well as they did in Game One for the rest of the series, especially now that their top sniper, Herro, is set to miss an extended period of time. That is going to turn into a huge problem since they already struggled from long range and are going to have to turn to even more help off the bench.

Game Two Preview

Game One could easily be remembered as a one-off depending on how the rest of the series unfolds—not because the Heat can’t be competitive or even win games, but because the Bucks’ entire strategy and morale was shattered when their best player and two-time MVP went down in the opening period.

Whether or not he plays in Game Two, the Bucks will have consolidated and readied themselves emotionally. It will help if Giannis is available, but the Herro loss makes it so that they are not helpless without him in the lineup. Milwaukee also went 11-8 in games Giannis did not appear in during the regular season, although only two of those wins were against playoff teams.

Expect both teams to key in on the defensive side of the basketball knowing that they have absent or compromised offensive stars. The Heat struggled on defense all year, and the Bucks regressed after the All-Star break, but both were built on defensive principles and should be able to turn it on for what feels like a must-win game for the Bucks.

How Do the Bucks Win?

The Bucks have a great chance to win this game simply if Giannis plays because of their championship pedigree and experience. Whether he does or not, they will need to slow down Butler, whose playoff form seems to have arrived. 

How Do the Heat Win?

The Heat need to find ways to make perimeter shots even without Herro. That could come primarily from the bench with a combination of Kyle Lowry, Kevin Love, and the once-out-of-favor Duncan Robinson, or it could be starters Max Strus and Gabe Vincent. No matter who steps to the plate, there has to be someone there.

Bucks vs Heat Game Two Pick

Asking the Bucks to cover an 8.5-point spread is a tall task for a team with a banged-up superstar and that was run off the floor in Game One. Plus, anything is possible with playoff Jimmy Butler, which is why the Heat’s spread is ultimately the strongest play in this matchup.

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How to Watch Bucks vs Heat Game Two

  • Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, WI
  • When: 9:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 19
  • TV: NBA TV
  • Streaming: YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling, etc.
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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

407 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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