The first series to kickoff the 2021 NBA Playoffs is a rematch of last year's East Semis Finals as the Miami Heat will face the Milwaukee Bucks in the 6th seed versus the 3rd seed in the opening round. If you recap the Miami Heat laid claimed the Eastern Conference Championship inside the bubble. It's in the East Semis Finals as the Milwaukee Bucks as the Bucks was the top seed. The surprising Heat took out the Bucks in five games, shocking the basketball world on their way to winning the East.
Now they meet again 9 months later beginning Saturday, May 22..
This go around is completely different this playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks are the 3rd seed in the East with the record of 46-26. No Eric Bledsoe as the Bucks traded Bledsoe to the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday during the offseason. The Bucks wasn't done as they midseason trades to acquire key players such PJ Tucker from Houston and Jeff Teague from Boston. The Bucks have depth and playmaking ability to go alone with the two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
As for the reigning, defending, Eastern Conference Champs, this season has been a struggle. The Miami Heat, the 6th seed in the East with a record of 40-32 saw an up and down season where many were looking for the Heat to be one of the top contenders in the East. As mention earlier, the shocked the world taking out the Bucks in the East Semis then the Boston Celtics in the East Finals before falling to the Lakers in the Finals. People were looking to see how much better the Heat will get and the Heat did not live up to expectations. Losing Victor Oladipo after five games. Jimmy Butler being in and out of the lineup with different injuries. Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson haven't taking that next step up in their game after their performance inside the bubble. The duo is only averaging 28 point per game combine which is where they averaged during the playoffs last season. but people expected more from Herro and Robinson.
Keys to The Series
Milwaukee: We all know what Giannis bring to table every time he steps on the floor. Back-to-back MVP titles but little playoff success both years. Bringing in Jrue Holiday should help the Bucks in this year's playoffs, as he provides playmaking ability to the Bucks as well as another scorer. Khris Middelton still playing like the second best player on the team is a good sign. The addition of PJ Tucker brings toughness and added 3-pointer shooting. For the Bucks to right the misfortunes of last year season, the Bucks must like the better that they are with some revenge on the mind against the Heat.
Miami: The Heat have underachieved all season, but that can change in this series. Jimmy Butler is still the heart of this team without question, but the pieces that helped him last season needs to step up again this go around. The health of Goran Dragic is a question. Bam Adebayo has been a bright spot averaging 19 points and nine rebounds per game. Tyler Herro has to take that next step and elevate his game and Duncan Robinson must bring the sniper that we all know he is.
Matchups to Watch
Giannis Antetokounmpo versus Bam Adebayo
Khris Middleton versus Jimmy Butler
Jrue Holiday versus Tyler Herro