Butler’s free throws earned Miami Heat a second straight win over Milwaukee Bucks

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Jimmy Butler made two free throws with no time remaining on the clock on Wednesday night, capping a wild finish that featured two controversial calls by the referees and giving the Miami Heat a second straight win over the Milwaukee Bucks, 116-114 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Game leaders

Miami Heat

  • Points: Goran Dragic – 23
  • Assists: Dragic/Herro – 4
  • Rebounds: Bam Adebayo – 9

Milwaukee Bucks

  • Points: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 29
  • Assists: Khris Middleton – 8
  • Rebounds: Giannis Antetokounmpo – 14

Heat lead series 2-0

After posting a 115-104 win in Game 1, the Heat appeared to be in command Wednesday with a 113-107 advantage with less than 20 seconds to go. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo then threw down a dunk, and Brook Lopez stole Butler’s inbounds pass, converting a lay-up that trimmed the gap to two with 8.5 seconds left.

After Butler made just one of two free throws for a 114-111 lead with 7.7 seconds left, Goran Dragic was called for a debated brush foul on a Khris Middleton three-point attempt. When Middleton made all three of his foul shots, the game was tied with 4.3 seconds remaining.

That was enough time for Butler to benefit from a similar touch foul at the other end on a corner jumper he got off just before the horn. Antetokounmpo was whistled for putting a hand on Butler’s hip during the follow-through, setting up the game-winning free throws.

On a night when Butler followed up a 40-point explosion with just 13, the Heat used a 51-21 scoring advantage on three-pointers to put the Bucks in a big hole.

After trailing by as many as 13 in the first half and 10 in the final period, the Bucks got within 105-102 on a short shot by Antetokounmpo with 5:30 to play. But Kelly Olynyk countered immediately with his third three-pointer of the game to double the margin, and then the Heat defense took over.

The Bucks didn’t score again until Antetokounmpo sank two free throws with 1:45 to go, which cut the deficit to 111-104. The nearly four-minute drought featured five missed shots and three turnovers.

Dragic scored 23 points and Tyler Herro added 17 points for Miami. Jae Crowder had 16, Bam Adebayo 15 to go with a team-high nine rebounds, Duncan Robinson 13 and Olynyk 11. Butler also found time for a team-high six assists and team-high three steals as the Heat forced 14 turnovers while only committing 10.

Antetokounmpo finished with a game-high 29 points and a game-high 14 rebounds after having been held to 18 points and 10 rebounds in Game 1. Middleton chipped in with 23 points and a game-high eight assists.

Eric Bledsoe and Lopez added 16 points apiece and George Hill 14 for the Bucks, who shot 7-for-25 on three-point attempts (28 per cent) as opposed to the Heat’s 17-for-45 (37.8 per cent).

Riding the momentum of their Game 1 win, the Heat bombed in five three-pointers, including two by Olynyk, in the first quarter, building an 11-point advantage. The margin reached 13 in the second period before the Bucks scratched back.

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