LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Another season for the Milwaukee Bucks ended in disappointment, this one nearly 11 months after it started. The top-seeded Bucks were ousted from the N.B.A. playoffs on Tuesday night with a 103-94 loss to the Miami Heat, who clinched their Eastern Conference semifinal series, four games to one.
In an odd season that was interrupted and then extended by the coronavirus pandemic, the Bucks still seemed primed for a championship run when they arrived for the N.B.A.’s restart at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., this summer. But after finishing with the league’s best regular-season record for the second straight year, the Bucks again flamed out in the playoffs.
Last season, Milwaukee lost to the Toronto Raptors, the eventual champions, in the conference finals. This season, the Bucks went up against a formidable opponent in the conference semifinals. Led by Jimmy Butler, who has left his tough-minded imprint all over the Heat in his first season with the team, Miami wore down the Bucks, who were undermanned by the end of the series.
The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is widely expected to collect his second straight N.B.A. Most Valuable Player Award sometime in the coming days, sprained his right ankle in Game 3 before tweaking the injury early in Game 4. Without him for much of that game, the Bucks were able to stave off elimination with an unexpected win that showed their resolve.
But Antetokounmpo, 25, did not play in Game 5 — he warmed up before the team ruled him out — and his teammates could not compensate for his absence.
Now, the Bucks are sure to face questions — and important decisions — about their future. Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-11 forward and generational talent whom Milwaukee drafted in 2013, is eligible to sign a contract extension this off-season. But if he declines to do so, he could become an unrestricted free agent after next season.