The Miami Heat lost Game 4 as the Milwaukee Bucks snatched a game in an overtime win. With that, the Heat’s unbeaten playoff run came to an end. They were one win away from emulating the 2001 Lakers’ postseason achievement of sweeping the team with the best regular-season record in the league.
Despite having Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, the 2000-01 Lakers were not the best regular-season team. Tim Duncan and the Spurs had the best record winning two more games than the Lakers. So when these two teams met in the Conference Finals, it was anticipated to be a heavily contested series.
But the Lakers wasted no time and swept them 4-0. They thrashed the Spurs and had an average point differential of 22.2 points per game in that series. A 22-year old Kobe averaged 33 points per game, seven rebounds, and seven assists per game and shot 51% from the field. Shaq showed no mercy either, averaging 27 points and 13 rebounds per game.
With this dominant display, they successfully advanced to the NBA Finals without a single loss. There they faced Allen Iverson and the 76ers, who were not spared either. With a 4-1 victory, the Lakers had one of the best postseason campaigns ever. This was also their third title in a row as they completed a historic three-peat.
Can the Miami Heat get back to winning ways?
The Heat may not be able to recreate that record but they are still favorites to win the series. No other team would have been able to dominate the Bucks as the Heat did. Even in the regular season, the Heat were one of the three teams who beat the Bucks twice.
After a solid start, the Heat failed to close out the series with a sweep. Despite Giannis Antetokounmpo playing less than 12 minutes, the Heat ended up losing out in overtime as the Bucks forced a Game 5.
The Heat now have to just stick to their gameplan that they used to beat the Bucks in the first three games. They have successfully outplayed them so far and will look to close out the series tomorrow. They still look like the most dangerous team in the East and would be favorites to come to win the Conference.