Kevin Love prepares for a surprise win over the Heat Bucks

Look who showed up.

Look who showed up.
Photo: AP

If you’re a casual NBA fan, you may have forgotten about Kevin Love because he doesn’t seem to have played much since things fell apart Cleveland after LeBron James went for it Los Angeles following the 2018 postseason. Love stepped up, surprising the Miami Heat game is a win a Milwaukee Bucks. By losing to Atlanta in their first playoff game last week, the Heat put themselves in perhaps the best position based on the available rankings following Giannis Antetokounmpo’s back injury on Sunday.

Love was the X-factor for the Heat in Game 1, making some plays that helped lead to a 130-117 victory. He did it on both ends of the floor, scoring 18 points, grabbing eight boards and coming up with several defensive plays, such as timely offense that slowed Milwaukee’s momentum, keeping Miami in the driver’s seat.

If the Heat continue to get a similar performance from Love with Giannis out with a back injury, Miami could fall in the first round and fall out of the top seed in the playoffs. Despite Miami’s struggles, the Heat always seem to play well against the Bucks, splitting the season this year. Giannis missed both games in Miami in January, which the Heat won. There’s even more cause for concern with Antetokounmpo’s latest back injury, as well as everything else that’s hampered him throughout the season.

On top of all that, Jimmy Butler’s alter ego Jimmy Buckets returned just in time to score 35 points to lead all scorers on 55 percent shooting from the field and added 11 dimes. He did all of this and only attempted one three-point shot the entire game, which he missed. Pay attention to the midrange, kids. It can still be killer if you master it.

There’s no way the Heat should win this series based on their inconsistency all season, but with Giannis’ health in doubt, it could be just Jimmy in the playoffs and the Heat needing to upset the Eastern Conference favorites. You hate to jump ahead and call Game 2 a must-win for the No. 1 seed in any opening round, but given the circumstances, Wednesday could be it for the Bucks.


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