September 9, 2020, 5:26 am
The 2019-20 season is officially over for the Bucks. The Heat prevailed in Game 5, 103-94, to close out their Eastern Conference semifinal series 4-1. That was just the opening dish served on Tuesday. After that, fans were treated to a sighting of Playoff Rondo, as Rajon Rondo came out of nowhere to power the Lakers to a Game 3 win over the Rockets, 112-102.
No More Passing the Buck, It’s Over
It’s crazy to think about how quickly the fate of the team with the best regular-season record changed over the course in five short games. It’s over. The Bucks are out. They’re done. Giving credit where it’s due, Jimmy Butler and the rest of the Heat played out one hell of a series. Butler, in particular, has been nothing short of spectacular.
The Bucks were without their star, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had to sit out in Game 5 due to a sprained ankle. It must have gutted him to watch from the sidelines as his teammates battled it out valiantly in this do-or-die game. But in the end, it’s safe to say that the better team in the series came out on top.
Milwaukee came out of the gates swinging for the fences and led at the end of the first quarter, 28-19. However, the Heat turned up, well, the heat in the second quarter to end the first half with a 52-46 lead. From there, they managed to hold on to complete the win at the final buzzer.
Butler and Goran Dragic paced the Heat with 17 points apiece. Butler provided a diverse line, adding 10 rebounds, six assists a trey and a steal to boot. Bam Adebayo chimed in with 13 & 6, while Tyler Herro played well off the bench with 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
On the Bucks’ side, Khris Middleton took charge and ended the night with a game-high 23 points, seven rebounds and six dimes before eventually fouling out. Brook Lopez was uncharacteristically active on the glass for a rare double-double, mustering 15 points and 14 boards. Unfortunately, the big guy missed all three of his shot attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. Donte DiVincenzo started in place of Antetokounmpo and put up a good showing for himself as a starter with 17 points (5-of-9 FG, 4-of-5 FT), including three triples, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Marvin Willams, who played 21 minutes off the bench, added 11 points and eight rebounds. He announced that he was calling it quits and retiring from the NBA.
The Heat will now await the winner of the series between the Celtics and the Raptors. They’re headed to the Eastern Conference final for the seventh time since 2005, the most for any team, tied with the Spurs.
Despite all the loud-mouth talk that the “East is weak,” these semifinals series have pretty amazing and whichever two teams will end up facing each other in the finals, we can all expect some great hoops.
Raging Rajon Rondo
Game 3 was rough for the Rockets. Not just because they lost in the end, but because they were without Danuel House and Tyson Chandler who missed the game for personal, non-COVID-19 reasons. Well, missing House more, obviously, with Chandler hardly seeing time on the floor in the postseason. Yeah, he’s just more of a locker-room guy at this point in his career.
As expected the duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook came out to play and play hard, combining for 63 of the Rockets’ 102 points. Harden flirted with a triple-double thanks to his adding nine rebounds and nine assists to the box score. Westbrook was no slouch either, chipping in eight rebounds, six assists, two 3s and two steals. But then again, we expect that from these two. As usual, veteran Jeff Green was there to do his dirty work, which in tonight’s case was 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field.
Injury Note: Robert Covington (10 points, five rebounds, three assists, four steals), left the game after suffering a laceration, sustained in a collision with Anthony Davis. There has been no postgame update on his status, but it looks like it was just a nasty bleeder. Still, be sure to check with our blurb feed for the latest news.
The game was pretty straightforward. The Rockets led at the end of each of the first two quarters, but the Lakers poured it on after the break and seized control of the game from there.
Anthony Davis ended the night with 26 points, 15 rebounds and six assists. Due to the collision, expect him to pop up on the Lakers’ injury report, but then again, you probably expected his name to be pre-printed on the dang thing by now. So there’s that.
LeBron James came in and put on a show with a game-high 36 points, adding seven rebounds, five assists, four 3s, one steal and four blocks for a fat stat line. The only real blemish on his line for the night would be his 6-of-10 showing at the free throw line. But he played well in the other categories and the Lakers got the win, so no one’s really going to complain much about that aside from his owners in fantasy playoff leagues.
All that said, the highlight, no, the showstopper of the game was Rajon Rondo, who turned back the clock and exploded for 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, adding three treys, two rebounds, nine assists and one steal in 30 minutes off the bench. Wow. With him providing the L.A. with the much-needed scoring option, there’s no question as to why the boys in purple and gold came away with the W tonight.
Even though they’re up 2-1 in this series, the Lakers have no time to rest on their laurels just yet. They blink once or twice on D and the Harden and Westbrook will easily put up a crazy-big lead on the scoreboard. Expect those two to play like madmen come Game 4. Fireworks!