The Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks are gearing up for Game 2 of their playoff series, and Bucks veteran Jae Crowder knows that he and his teammates have to do whatever they can to contain Heat star Jimmy Butler.
“Watching the film, it was just overthinking the game,” Crowder said. “I think we gotta defend the ball, take care of the ball, and not worry about second and third actions. We gotta take care of the ball and that’s the main guy. Jimmy had the ball in his hands creating, so we gotta take care of him. I think once you take care of us not thinking as much and us just reacting, we’ll be fine taking care of the straight-line drives.”
Butler went off in the Heat’s surprise Game 1 win on Sunday, and he’ll be even more important for the Heat going forward. That is because the Heat will be without guard Tyler Herro for the rest of the series and beyond.
Herro suffered multiple broken bones in his right hand in Game 1. That leaves the Heat with a shortened list of proven scorers. Butler, of course, is at the top of that list.
In the Game 1 upset, Butler filled it up on both sides of the court. He recorded 35 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and three steals. He’ll likely have to have a similar impact if the Heat want to keep winning versus the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded team.
However, it can’t all land on Butler to make up for the absence of Herro. Other players are going to have to pick up the slack. The most obvious candidates are All-Star big man Bam Adebayo and 2019 champion Kyle Lowry.
Adebayo had a strong night in Game 1, finishing with 22 points, nine boards, seven assists and two steals. Lowry, on the other hand, was barely impactful and finished with just two points and three assists in a little over 18 minutes of playing time.
Moreover, it’ll be interesting to see who Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra replaces Herro with in the starting lineup. Sharpshooter Duncan Robinson seems like a strong candidate, but there’s no telling what the team’s veteran skipper has up his sleeve.
As for Crowder, he knows just how dominant Butler can be in the playoffs.
After all, Crowder was a full-time starter for the Heat during their improbable run to the 2020 NBA Finals. As Heat fans will remember well, the second team that the Heat beat on their way to that Finals series was none other than the Bucks.