LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.– Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat are headed to the Eastern Conference finals.

The fifth-seeded Heat ended up off an upset of the NBA’s finest regular-season group Tuesday, topping the Milwaukee Bucks 103-94 in Game 5 of their East semifinal series– while Antetokounmpo, the league’s reigning MVP, couldn’t play due to the fact that 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 last 4 gets underway next week. It’s Miami’s very first time in the East finals given that 2014, and the very 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 each 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 9 helps for the Bucks.

Antetokounmpo did what he might– cheering from the bench throughout, rebounding for teammates throughout pregame warmups and once again at halftime, using words throughout time-outs.

And the Bucks were inspired from the dive.

However the NBA’s No. 1 general seed in these playoffs– a league-best 56-17 in the routine season– simply didn’t have enough.

Milwaukee opened the video 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 8 of Milwaukee’s very first 16 points, Matthews had 9 by the end of the quarter and the Bucks were off to an appealing start.

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

Milwaukee wouldn’t let the Heat escape, however– not then, and not in the third when Miami pressed the lead out to 12 after a 3-pointer by Crowder with 3:07 left. The Bucks needed just 50 seconds to swindle 7 straight points, and it stayed close from there.


Heat: This is Miami’s seventh trip to the conference finals given that 2005, the many of anybody in the East and matching the most of any team in the NBA in that period; San Antonio likewise has 7 such journeys because 2005. … Miami made it through on a night where it had 22 turnovers.

Dollars: The NBA went to the 16-team playoff format in 1984 and this is only the 6th time in those 37 seasons that the No. 1 seed did not make the East finals. … The Bucks depart the bubble with a $2,020,431 share of the NBA’s yearly playoff pool. They could have split $6,827,848 if they won the title.


Antetokounmpo didn’t play and there were still 3 of the other nine members of the NBA’s All-Defensive Team, revealed earlier Tuesday, in the game. Lopez, Bledsoe and Adebayo were all second-team selections. Antetokounmpo was a first-teamer, as would be anticipated for the gamer who also won Defensive Gamer of the Year.


Heat coach Erik Spoelstra got his 79th post-season win, connecting Rick Adelman– among his idols as a Portland kid– for 11th on the NBA’s all-time list. “I believed he was among the most successful, understated, modest people to ever do it in this organization,” Spoelstra said. “I hope individuals can really realize his success. He should be in the Hall of Popularity. He’s innovated this game offensively as much as anyone.”


The last time the Bucks played a game without Antetokounmpo on the floor was April 28, 2013– about 2 months prior to they took him with the No. 15 choice because year’s draft. Their 2012-13 season ended that day, with a loss to Miami.


Heat: Game 1 of the East finals vs. Toronto or Boston, TBD.