Giannis and the Bucks are going against the Heat in the NBA playoffs and the Heat have slowed down Giannis, but how? #Giannis #NBA #Heat
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Congratulations to Giannis for winning Defensive player of the year. Now guard Butler. No, that’s a touchy subject? Dang. Giannis on the court looking like a demon, but letting Butler drop 40. I gotta hold you accountable. Also what’s up with the touch fouls for game? Giannis is most likely going to be a two time MVP and was stopped last year by a Kawhi led Raptors that had a very specific defense that worked. This is supposed to be a redemption year but it seems like Giannis isn’t able to get his way. This starts with the Heat’s defense that is one of possibly 4 defenses in the league with actual individual defensive matchups against Giannis. In the regular season, Bam Adebayo has been the most effective defender against Giannis and it’s no fluke. Bam’s a 6’ 9” center at 255 pounds that won the skills challenge. He has quick feet for that size, and more importantly, can shift directions with ball handlers on the perimeter at that weight. This doesn’t mean Bam is the Giannis stopper. We had a solid sample size, but not a prolonged sample. Giannis and the Heat played 3 games this season.
The Heat employed their own strategy for stopping Giannis in the open court. The Heat took some of those concepts but do not have the size the Raptors do, but have more of a forward rotation. Like right here, Bam’s backpedaling, Giannis is looking for an opening. Kendrick Nunn sees his man making a cut underneath the rim and sees Dragic dropped down. So he stays, Iguodala also puts pressure on Giannis to go right while covering the passing lane. As Giannis goes right, Nunn lunges and because Giannis isn’t this amazing ball handler, he retreats while protecting the ball, making him lose all his momentum going up the court and making this a half-court set which is exactly what the Heat want. There were other times that Giannis literally pulled back even when Bam was behind him and the Heat defense really didn’t have much set up. It wasn’t that he was even looking to attack and pass, it was more of Giannis just pulling back and letting the Bucks run a half-court offense. Now in the playoffs, the game does slow down and there is a bigger emphasis on half-court offense. Jae Crowder does not have a good record guarding Brook Lopez but over time, the Heat would rotate defenders with Iguodala, Butler, Crowder, and Bam. In fact in Game 2, all 3 wing players had solid moments on Giannis. Now don’t get me wrong, Giannis still had his moments of dominance where he couldn’t be stopped no matter what. Giannis’s footwork was solid but Heat players would be waiting for when he finished a spin for example. The Heat players know his tendencies inside and out and are forcing him to go to his moves. Game 2 was more about great individual defensive plays knowing where Giannis will go and what he wants to do. The Heat defense still isn’t perfect and can be susceptible to 3s even if they are the second best defensive teams against 3s, but that’s what you would expect against the Bucks.
What’s really interesting and a cause of concern is that the Bucks had 19 turnovers including 6 turnovers by Giannis in Game 1. This wasn’t necessarily because of bad passes, no it was because of his ball handling. Giannis tends to dribble the ball high, but he’s not some amazing dribbler with great ball control that can react to multiple hands reaching in. So that in conjunction with Giannis dribbling too high makes him vulnerable to steals. The Heat had multiple defenders stunt to sort of make openings tighter to dribble through. It’s why people like Kawhi could also bother Giannis so much because Kawhi keeps his hands low when defending and because there’s so much time between the hand and the ball when dribbling, it’s easier to take it or disrupt.
This isn’t even related to Giannis, but I wanna give props to Butler cause man is he a surgeon in that 4th quarter. He only took 2 pointers in Game 1, both in the last 5 minutes of the game, and made em. He picks his spots so well, almost waiting to unleash in the 4th quarter after seeing all the openings throughout the game. The Heat really have been putting the world on notice, specifically Giannis because he hasn’t been able to get it done. We’ll see if he flips a switch or if the Bucks can run more schemes to get Giannis in more one v one situations. They are gonna need to change things up because the Heat are dismantling them. But what do you think? Will the Bucks come back? Who’s making the finals?