MILWAUKEE - Khris Middleton broke a tie with a jumper with 0.5 seconds left in overtime and had 27 points to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Miami Heat 109-107 Saturday in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.
Middleton was closely guarded by Duncan Robinson on the 19-footer.
Miami's Goran Dragic had tied it with a corner 3-pointer with 20.6 seconds left in OT. After Middleton's shot, Jrue Holiday blocked a 3-point attempt from Jimmy Butler as the buzzer sounded.
Game 2 is Monday night in Milwaukee. Miami beat Milwaukee 4-1 in the second round last year and went on to reach the NBA Finals.
Butler forced overtime by making a buzzer-beating driving layup past Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose free-throw woes prevented the Bucks from putting the game away earlier.
Antetokounmpo had 26 points, 18 rebounds and five assists, but was just 6 of 13 on free-throw attempts. Over the last 1:06 of regulation, Antetokounmpo was 2 of 5 from the line and had a 10-second violation that prevented him from getting another free-throw attempt.
Holiday had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who won despite shooting 5 of 31 from 3-point range. They'd never made below seven 3-pointers in a game during the regular season.
Dragic scored 25 points, Robinson had 24 and Butler added 17 for the Heat. Butler also had 10 rebounds and eight assists.
The Bucks took a 98-97 with 34.3 seconds left in regulation when Antetokounmpo made the second of two free throws after getting fouled on a shot attempt. Antetokounmpo knocked the ball loose from Butler to force a jump ball, got the ball when Brook Lopez won the tip and got fouled again with nine seconds left.
This time, Antetokounmpo made the first but missed the second. Trevor Ariza got the rebound and Miami called a timeout with eight seconds remaining.
Dragic inbounded the ball to Butler, who took his time before driving to the basket and making a layup that rolled in as the buzzer sounded.
The win against was a treat for fans – especially after a year watching at a distance.
Play by play to a nail-biting finish, fans – many of them vaccinated – relaxed and kicked back, finally cheering on the Bucks again in person.
"Oh, man. It’s great to be here, man," said fan Rob Parks. "Hopefully the Bucks can avenge last year’s loss to the Heat."
The scene outside the arena was much different than it looked this time last year. A sense of optimism for what's still to come was in the air – in anticipation of the end of the pandemic.
The game featured the largest attendance for a Milwaukee home game this season.
The Milwaukee Health Department’s revised pandemic-imposed guidelines enabled the Bucks to fill 50% of Fiserv Forum’s seats this season, resulting in crowds of about 9,000. The Bucks had closed the regular season playing home games at 18% capacity, or roughly 3,300 fans.
Crowds will get even bigger when this series moves to Miami for Game 3 on Thursday. The Heat announced Saturday they could have as many as 17,000 fans for their home playoff games
Bucks: Holiday scored an unusual basket late in the second quarter. It appeared as though Holiday was attempting a lob to Antetokounmpo, but the ball instead went through the hoop. … … The Bucks are making their fifth straight playoff appearance to match the second-longest streak in team history. They reached the postseason 12 straight times from 1980-91.
Heat: This marks the third time the Heat have faced the Bucks in the postseason. The Heat swept the Bucks in the first round in 2013 before knocking off Milwaukee in the second round last year.