Heat win again, lead series 2-0 against Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo sat on the bench in disbelief as Jimmy Butler sank a pair of free throws with an empty lane and no time on the clock Wednesday night.

Just moments earlier, the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat were knotted at 114 after Khris Middleton sank all three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.

It set up a wild finish, one that saw Antetokounmpo foul Butler after the ball had left his hands — a call confirmed by review — and permitted the Heat to walk off with a triumph in just the third NBA playoff game ever to end on game-winning, buzzer-beating free throws, according to Basketball-Reference.com data.

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Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP, wasn’t sure what to make of it.

“I tried to make it tough for Jimmy,” he said after a 116-114 loss in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, left the top-seeded Bucks in a 2-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinals. “The refs said there was contact there. Maybe there was, I’ve got to watch the play. It is what it is. I tried to contest the shot, but they said there was contact there, so I’ve got to watch (the) play.”

Butler’s recollection was crystal-clear, though.

“It was an iso, Goran [Dragic] made a helluva pass on the inbound, then just wait for the clock to go out,” Butler said after scoring 13 points with six assists. “A step-back jumper and I got fouled, pushed me in the back. Can’t deny that and then I knew I had to make one out of two so I ended up, I think I made both of them and we win.”

Reflecting on the final whistle, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer stated, “I would say we’re disappointed with the judgment, with the decision, the timing.

The Bucks are the 12th team to trail 2-0 in a best-of-seven series after having the best record in the NBA during the regular season.

The 11 previous teams all lost that playoff series, and only one of those series went seven games.

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