Despite leading by 16 points with 10 minutes remaining, 10 points with seven minutes remaining and eight points with 3.5 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 5, the Milwaukee Bucks’ season ended on Wednesday night. Led by Jimmy Butler’s steadfast brilliance and acrobatic game-tying lob, the Miami Heat made a valiant fourth-quarter push to force overtime and held on for a 128-126 victory in the extra period for a 4-1 series win.
Yet after leading by seven with 1.5 minutes left, Miami nearly allowed the Bucks to pull this one out. Gabe Vincent missed a late three that ignited a fast break for Milwaukee, which held two timeouts in its pocket with under 10 seconds to go. Instead, the Bucks pushed forward in the open floor, couldn’t find space for a game-tying or game-winning shot and saw their season end in the hands of Grayson Allen, who dribbled out the clock searching for an angle at the rim. Allen had ample room to attempt a shot, by the way. Words don’t do the absurdity of the sequence justice either. You have to watch it unfold in its entirety.
Milwaukee blew two significant fourth quarter leads over the last three days to put a bow on its season. A flurry of head-scratching decisions offensively headlined those squandered leads, so it was a rather fitting conclusion to a devastating series loss at the hands of the Heat, a team that needed a fourth-quarter rally against the Chicago Bulls in the Play-In to even qualify for the playoffs.
Granted, Miami played and executed rather well in its first-round upset, headlined by Butler’s brilliance. It deserves immense credit for its efforts. But the blunders of the Bucks cannot be ignored either and the last blunder was the grandest of them all.