The Milwaukee Bucks should not higher with out Giannis Antetokounmpo. That should not should be mentioned, however in gentle of the 3-0 deficit they fell into in opposition to the Miami Warmth with him on the courtroom and the comeback Sport 4 victory they earned with out him for many of the sport, the idea of a dangerous and incorrect narrative is starting to type. Milwaukee’s win was not a direct results of their celebrity’s absence. By any goal measure, the Bucks are a greater staff with Giannis on the ground. 

The Bucks outscored opponents by 15.4 factors per 100 possessions with Giannis on the ground this season and solely 2.4 when he sat. That 13-point hole is superstar-caliber, and it is not an outlier. They have been 9.4 factors per 100 higher with Giannis on the ground final season, and have been higher in his minutes in all however one among his seven NBA campaigns (together with his sophomore 12 months being the lone exception). 

That hasn’t been restricted to the common season both. The Bucks have been, once more, higher with Giannis on the ground than with him on the bench of their first eight playoff video games this season. The identical was true final season, even of their Jap Convention Finals loss. The Bucks outscored the Raptors by 2.5 factors per 100 possessions with Giannis on the ground… and received blasted by 10.3 when he sat. Even in Sport 4 Sunday, the Bucks have been higher with Giannis on the ground (plus-2 in 18 minutes) than they have been with out him (plus-1 in 35). 

Now, it is value noting that the Bucks have struggled throughout playoff fourth quarters with Giannis on the ground, significantly in opposition to Toronto final season and Miami this season. However in profitable on Sunday, the Bucks did not precisely right the problems that led to these struggles. The Bucks had the NBA’s best-clutch protection in the course of the common season, however solely its Eleventh-best clutch offense. That offense did not get any higher with Giannis out. It scored solely 22 factors within the fourth quarter, however pressured extra time by holding Miami to 19. Khris Middleton, regardless of an awesome third quarter and a few killer buckets in extra time, was scoreless within the fourth. He went 3-for-11 from the sphere within the fourth quarter and extra time mixed, good for 27.2 p.c. On the season, he shot 49.3 p.c from the sphere in fourth quarters and overtimes mixed. Let’s not fake he was a drastically completely different clutch offensive participant with out Giannis. 

So if the Bucks did not get some kind of magical increase from dropping their MVP, what was behind their victory? There was no single, overarching issue. The Bucks did not overwhelm the Warmth in a single space. However quite a few minor components each out and in of their management helped them keep alive. 

Mike Budenholzer deserves a shred of credit score for lastly utilizing a playoff rotation. Khris Middleton sat for less than 5 of the 53 minutes on this sport. Brook Lopez and Eric Bledsoe each reached 40 minutes, and George Hill, at 37, performed extra minutes than Giannis did in any sport of this sequence. He additionally threw the Warmth off of their game-plan by working three-guard lineups that Miami couldn’t have realistically ready for as a result of the Bucks virtually by no means used them previous to this sport. The Warmth constructed their game-plan round dealing with Giannis. Even when the Bucks are worse with out him, altering gears so shortly to face a special kind of opponent is extraordinarily tough. The Houston Rockets can attest to that. They have been constructed to beat the Kevin Durant-version of the Golden State Warriors a season in the past. They performed that staff to a 2-2 draw… after which misplaced the 2 ultimate video games of the sequence with Durant damage. 

In addition they, thankfully, drew some unfortunate taking pictures variance from Miami’s two finest offensive gamers on this sequence. Jimmy Butler was solely 6-of-15 from the sphere, whereas Goran Dragic was 1-of-9 from behind the arc. Now, different Miami gamers made up for that, but it surely’s onerous to win a sport through which you make solely 23 2-point pictures in 53 minutes. That was what occurred to Miami in Sport 4 with Butler struggling. 

However the methods through which a Milwaukee staff would possibly theoretically get higher with out Giannis on the ground did not precisely materialize. His absence did not enhance their spacing, because the Bucks shot 11-of-35 on 3-pointers on this sport. In the meantime, regardless of lacking one of many NBA’s main rebounders, they outrebounded the Warmth by 5. What occurred after Giannis exited the sport was not in any means, form or type predictable. It was, merely, skilled sports activities. Typically, the higher staff loses. 

That was the case on Sunday. It most likely will not be the case on Tuesday if Giannis cannot go. It doesn’t matter what occurred in Sport 4, the Bucks unquestionably want their MVP in the event that they plan to win this sequence. Regardless of how tempting a story Sunday would possibly supply, there is no such thing as a goal purpose to imagine that the Bucks are a greater staff with out Giannis. Sport 4 was the exception, not the rule, and that should not should be mentioned. 

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