Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat are headed to the Eastern Conference finals.

Giannis Antetokounmpo could only watch.

The fifth-seeded Heat finished off an upset of the NBA’s best regular-season team Tuesday, topping the Milwaukee Bucks 103-94 in Game 5 of their East semi-final series while Antetokounmpo, the league’s reigning MVP, couldn’t play because of a sprained right ankle.

Butler and Goran Dragic each scored 17 points for the Heat, who won the series 4-1 and will face either Boston or Toronto when the NBA’s final four gets underway next week. It’s Miami’s first time in the East finals since 2014, and the first time Butler has gotten to the NBA’s final four.

Jae Crowder scored 16, Tyler Herro scored 14, Bam Adebayo had 13 and Kelly Olynyk had 12 apiece for the Heat.

Khris Middleton had 23 points for Milwaukee, which got 15 points and 14 rebounds from Brook Lopez. Donte DiVincenzo scored 17, Wesley Matthews and Marvin Williams each had 11 and Eric Bledsoe had nine assists for the Bucks.

Antetokounmpo did what he could cheering from the bench throughout, rebounding for teammates during pregame warmups and again at halftime, offering words during time-outs.

And the Bucks were inspired from the jump.

But the NBA’s No 1 overall seed in these playoffs a league-best 56-17 in the regular season just didn’t have enough.

Milwaukee opened the game on a 28-15 run, putting Miami on its heels from the opening minutes. DiVincenzo got the call to start for Antetokounmpo and scored eight of Milwaukee’s first 16 points, Matthews had nine by the end of the quarter and the Bucks were off to a promising start.

Miami answered that start with a 30-9 run of its own, capped by three free throws from Olynyk with 4:36 left in the half for a 45-37 Heat lead.

Milwaukee wouldn’t let the Heat get away, though – not then, and not in the third when Miami pushed the lead out to 12 after a 3-pointer by Crowder with 3:07 left. The Bucks needed just 50 seconds to rip off seven straight points, and it stayed close from there.

source: theguardian.com

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