This season has finally come to the end it was always destined to meet: Heat 88 – Bucks 77
|Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, PF 40 MIN | 2-7 FG | 5-6 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -14
If you predicted that in Milwaukee’s final game of the playoffs this season, Luc Mbah a Moute would lead the team in minutes played, congratulations, you were right. Not only were you right, but you’re also kind of a masochist. Even with Mbah a Moute defending LeBron, the mighty Heat forward ended up with 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Interesting that Boylan opted to double down on a strategy that wasn’t really producing any results.
|Ersan Ilyasova, SF 27 MIN | 3-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | -1
It’s crazy to think Milwaukee’s most effective offensive player in this series and for most of the season, played just 27 minutes in the final game. I recognize it was a function of matchups and positioning, but in what world are the Bucks not better off with Ilyasova playing 40 minutes than Luc Mbah a Moute? Milwaukee made no effort all series to dictate the matchups on the court, rather the Bucks just responded to things the Heat did. Seems like a great way to assure a series as noncompetitive as the one we saw.
Not that Ersan was all that effective anyway. The Heat’s speed and athleticism overwhelmed him and forced him to take the ball off the dribble or rush finishes inside. Having to do either of those things is rough for Ersan, being forced to do both constantly is recipe for failure.
|Larry Sanders, C 31 MIN | 3-9 FG | 1-1 FT | 11 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | -14
He was frustrated with himself for blowing some not too difficult opportunities at the rim. It seemed all game like he wanted to take the burden from Ellis and Jennings and be relied on for more offense. He’s got some work to do if he wants to be a guy capable of taking much more of a load on offense, for sure. But this was another high effort, high energy game from Sanders where he made an impact and kept the team afloat. If anyone outside of Ellis had a solid shooting game, Milwaukee may have pulled this one off and Sanders would have been a big reason why.
|Monta Ellis, PG 39 MIN | 10-20 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 8 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 6 TO | 21 PTS | -10
He again looked like a capable, if wild, point guard very often. But his limitations as a three point shooter seem so damning. Ellis made exactly three of the 19 threes he attempted in four games against the Heat. How can you be a functioning, big minute guard and be that bad at shooting threes? It’s his biggest flaw and it’s a very important spot to have such a big flaw. Ellis has so many strengths: He’s so quick, capable of getting to and finishing at the rim, he plays his ass off, he’s a good mid-range shooter considering how many shots he takes. But at his size, he’s got to be able to hit threes. He’s not going to have his quickness forever.
Without that ability, how could a team even consider giving him more than $10 million annually? Especially with his off ball defense being what it is.
|Brandon Jennings, PG 23 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -9
I … I can’t …. I don’t …. where do we even begin …
|Ekpe Udoh, PF 16 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0
It’s almost too bad he got a rebound. 16 minutes and only a few stats is exactly the way Udoh’s last game of the season should have gone. He’s the least productive, productive player I’ve seen since Michael Curry.
|Mike Dunleavy, SF 28 MIN | 5-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -3
He was Milwaukee’s most capable all-around player in what was almost certainly his final game as a Buck. Moved the ball as well as ever, grabbed some rebounds, hit some threes. He was everything good about Milwaukee and everything good about himself on Sunday. It’s too bad Milwaukee is so far from being a competitive basketball team, because Dunleavy is absolutely one of those guys who will end up fitting perfectly on a team that’s already where it wants to be.
|J.J. Redick, SG 28 MIN | 5-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -9
Not a bad way for J.J. to go out, despite another 0-for night from behind the arc. After the game, he talked with Ray Allen for a good five minutes as players wished each other well on the court. They had a few laughs and seemed to have been talking about things important to them. I can only imagine that Allen was telling him how nice it is to be on a team so tailored to his strengths. Redick was not on that sort of team.
Way to get creative in your final game, Jim. To be fair, there’s nothing he could have done that would have mattered in this series. It was over before it started. But he didn’t even TRY to do anything different, save for that one lineup everyone buried him for in game two. The Ish Smith/Marquis Daniels lineup. With nothing to lose, you would have thought he would try something crazy in this game. Not so much though.
Four Things We Saw
- After acquiring J.J. Redick in late February, the Bucks went 12-21, including the sweep at the hands of the Heat.
- Ray Allen has a very subdued three-point celebration, where he puts down three fingers on his side. It’s so subtle and perfect and everything you’d want someone as smooth as Ray Allen to do.
- Average point differential in the playoffs for Milwaukee was -14.8. It appeared before the series that this was a team that didn’t really deserve to be in the playoffs and the results seem to indicate that was absolutely the case. Each of these games “could” have been won by the Bucks, I suppose, but it never really felt like they had a chance. Miami quietly controlled every aspect of each game and pretty much decided when the game was over.
- The Bucks shot 63% on free throws over the course of the series and it’s not like John Henson was taking 15 a night. Monta Ellis made just 37.5% of his free throws! 6-for-16! Dunleavy, Redick and Ilyasova were the only players to shoot better than 80% from the line this series for Milwaukee and the latter two attempted just five together.