The Milwaukee Bucks completely botched it. After finishing the regular season with the best record in the NBA, the Bucks were widely regarded as the favorite to win the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Rather than repeating their 2021 success, the Bucks struggled to get off the ground and were defeated in five games by the eighth-seeded Miami Heat. It was an organizational failure from top to bottom. We expect it to necessitate big changes for the Bucks this offseason. Here we will look at the four Bucks most to blame for their historic collapse vs. the Heat in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

It's not fair to blame a single person for Milwaukee's elimination. Although Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled with his free throws, he did play well through injuries in the last two games. He even scored an average of 32.0 points per game. The entire team is responsible for the terrible collapse they experienced throughout the series. It's shocking that the Bucks shot only 20 percent in the fourth quarter and overtime, leading to their defeat. This loss is a significant setback for the team. It's likely that they'll make some changes in the upcoming summer. They were once considered one of the favorites to win this year's championship, but they lost to the 8th seed in a humiliating fashion. The team has only themselves to blame for their embarrassment and elimination.

Now let's look at the four Bucks most to blame for their collapse vs. the Heat.

1. Coach Mike Budenholzer

The first thing that needs to happen is the end of the Mike Budenholzer era. While Budenholzer had been underperforming during the first four games, his poor decisions during Game 5 sealed his fate. When the Bucks had possession of the ball with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation, Budenholzer failed to call a timeout and draw up a play. This led to the game going into overtime. Furthermore, his decision to not put Brook Lopez in to defend the hoop during Jimmy Butler's game-tying attempt was terrible. To make matters worse, Budenholzer didn't call a timeout during the final play of overtime. This resulted in Grayson Allen failing to even get a shot off (more on that later). These mistakes epitomize the series, and Budenholzer must take responsibility for them. He has a history of making these types of errors with the Bucks, and this should be the final straw. His failure to make adjustments throughout the series was frustrating to watch. Even Antetokounmpo alluded to it.

“I don’t think as a team we made the right—or we didn’t make as many adjustments as we could against them,” Antetokounmpo said post-game.

It's not shocking that he highlighted “adjustments” as one of the significant reasons for the Bucks' defeat. Budenholzer has been criticized for his shortcomings in making in-game adjustments during playoff series, not knowing when to call timeouts. He also made questionable rotation decisions. These have been his biggest flaws over the past few years.

2. Bobby Portis

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Bobby Portis was a great feel-good story throughout the 2022-23 regular season. He averaged 14.1 points and a career-high 9.6 rebounds per game while also shooting 49.6 percent from the field. Many felt he was a true x-factor in the Bucks' championship aspirations. He actually started well in this series, averaging 17.0 points per game in Games 1 and 2. After that, however, Portis' production took a nosedive. He scored a total of just 14 points in the next three games, including a big fat egg in Game 5. His three-point shooting also went cold. He hit more than 38.0 percent from beyond the arc in the regular season. However, he nailed triples at just 27.8 percent in this series against the Heat.

3. Jrue Holiday

Jrue Holiday did some things well in this series. We also felt he did all he could against a red-hot Jimmy Butler. That said, Holiday's shooting just didn't do the Bucks any favors. Holiday had yet another sub-40 percent shooting night in Game 5, which was Milwaukee’s biggest outing of the season. Recall also that he missed a clutch free throw at the end. Take note that Holiday shot less than 40.0 percent from the floor in Games 1, 4, and 5 in this series. Not surprisingly, the Bucks lost in all three of those contests. This was a far cry from Holiday's shooting during the regular season. Remember that he shot 47.9 percent from the field and 38.4 percent from beyond the arc in 67 regular season games. Both those numbers went south big time in this terrible series loss to the Heat.

4. Grayson Allen

Grayson Allen was actually playing solid in this series. He even averaged 14.0 points over Games 1 to 3. He went back to earth in Game 4, though, scoring just 8 points. And then in Game 5, his last-second gaffe sealed the Bucks' playoff fate.

Grayson Allen just seemed unaware of the time remaining on the clock. He was unable to take a shot as time ran out. The Bucks' season ended without any chance of redemption. If they had managed to push the game into double overtime, they would have had a significant advantage. Remember that three of Miami's players, Bam Adebayo, Kevin Love, and Kyle Lowry, had all fouled out.

Unfortunately, the Eastern Conference's top seed and the team with the best regular-season record in the NBA ended their season with a whimper. Coach Mike Budenholzer chose not to call a timeout, as he did at the end of regulation when he had less than one second to draw up a play. He will undoubtedly regret this decision now that the Bucks have been eliminated in disbelief.