For one glorious quarter, the Milwaukee Bucks got a taste of what it’s like to be the Miami Heat. And then things returned to normal.
Milwaukee attempted a season high 20 free throws in the second quarter, a shocking number against a Heat team particularly good at earning free throws themselves and preventing their opponents from taking them. It should come as nor surprise then, that the Bucks outscored the heat 31-21 in the quarter, helping Milwaukee stake out a four point lead heading into the second half. So that was the abnormal part.
Things were pretty normal the rest of the game though, much to the dismay of the Bucks. Milwaukee attempted just 14 free throws in the three quarters outside of the second quarter and saw the Heat run up a pretty typical 37 free throws for the evening.
The main benefactor of Milwaukee’s free throw spree in the second quarter was Luc Mbah a Moute. LRMAM shot eight second quarter free throws, which tied his previous career high for an entire night. He’d finish the night with 10 attempts, a new career high. Time after time when Mbah a Moute would catch on the perimeter, he’d pump fake and see a Heat defender blow past him, leaving an open lane to the hoop. Mbah a Moute proved to be adept at taking advantage of those lanes and drew contact this way to earn the majority of his free throws.
In the fourth quarter alone though, Dwyane Wade matched the Heat’s first half free throw output with 10. Between an uptick in free throws and a fourth quarter full of turnovers by the Bucks and point off of them for the Heat, Milwaukee simply couldn’t stay with the Heat for four quarters.
But for one quarter, Milwaukee looked the part of the Goliath. For one half, the Bucks looked superior and for three quarters, the Bucks were competitive. Perhaps that’s nothing to start tossing around Gatorade showers about, but on the road, against the league’s finest team, it’s better than nothing. Milwaukee now must focus on the things they did well in the first three quarters and figure out how to keep those going for four quarters when Miami journeys into Milwaukee on Friday.
And if they can keep Miami’s Big Three off of the free throw line, that would help too.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan on Facebook (in the sidebar).