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Heat open title defense with blowout Game 1 win over Bucks

Apr 21, 2013, 10:01 PM EDT

Miami Heat players LeBron James, Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade react in the closing seconds of their win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Miami Reuters

The one-eight matchup between the Heat and the Bucks in the Eastern Conference playoffs seemed to be the biggest mismatch of them all, for a variety of reasons. Nothing took place during Miami’s 110-87 blowout victory on Sunday to change those perceptions.

Miami came into the postseason on an insane run, winning 37 of its final 39 regular season games. The Bucks, meanwhile, stumbled to the playoffs by dropping seven of their last nine.

Despite the lackluster pairing, or maybe because of it, Brandon Jennings tried to breathe some life into the series by going on record as saying the Bucks would take care of the Heat in six.

While that’s obviously not likely to happen, you can’t fault Jennings for the false bravado, and at least he backed up his words on the court, if only in the first half.

Jennings was fun to watch in the first two quarters, scoring 18 points (albeit on 14 shots) while temporarily keeping the game close. He scored on array of difficult shots, both inside and from three-point distance, and his Bucks were down by only seven points at the break after trailing by as many as 13 early.

Monta Ellis took on the scoring for Milwaukee in the third, getting going for 11 points in the period. The Bucks battled from 15 points down to close to within eight once again, but just like the Spurs did to the Lakers earlier on Sunday, Miami closed the quarter with a furious, momentum-seizing rally that all but sealed it.

It all started with LeBron James, who drove through traffic in the half court set to finish with a left-handed dunk at the rim that seemed to ignite his teammates. Chris Andersen got loose for dunks on consecutive possessions, and a free throw from James capped the 7-0 run that took just over two minutes of game time and had the Heat back up by 15 entering the fourth.

James finished with a near triple-double line of 27 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, but got his points on just 11 shots — and all but two of those came at the rim. Take a look at his shot chart:

source:

That’s ridiculous. If James has the discipline to attack the rim in this way with these results, no one is stopping the Heat.

Jennings and Ellis finished with 26 and 22 points respectively, but no other Milwaukee player finished in double figures. The Bucks’ main rim protector, Larry Sanders, played only 18 minutes and was completely ineffective in stopping anything Miami wanted to do inside.

Look, there’s no getting around it: It’s going to be a short series for Milwaukee in the first round of the playoffs. The games will seem long due to the way Miami will do what they want when they want against the undermanned Bucks, but there will be short spurts of success in keeping the games close.

And really, that’s the best the Bucks can hope for under the circumstances.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    One

    • cantonbound13 - Apr 22, 2013 at 6:56 AM

      Don’t be that guy. Every year someone does a dumb countdown. Try being more original.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:37 AM

        Was that guy last year. Going to be that guy this year. And just for you, going to be that guy next year too.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:53 AM

        Anyway, there’s a worse kind of “that guy”. That guy who posts an ungodly amount of negative messages on OTHER teams message boards on PBT. Talk about unoriginal.

    • cantonbound13 - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Hey I’m the last guy that would object to someone educating themselves. If it takes you 3 years to learn how to count past 10, so be it. I admire your determination. Don’t give up, you can do it!

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 22, 2013 at 6:13 PM

        Plan on counting to 16. Again.

  2. broncobeta - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:25 PM

    This series isn’t even fair. The Heat should have to win six to advance. The Bucks will be lucky to squeeze one.

  3. eventhorizon04 - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    The Heat won this game by 23 points with the Big 3 averaging just 31 minutes of playing time each.

  4. pantsfreezone - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:17 PM

    Kevin Harlan’s announcing and obvious lovefest for Birdman’s hair was the best thing.

  5. modellforprez - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Miami can just relax for the next oh i dont know 10 years D.Weezy & Lebreezy got it locked. Cant forget Bosh. knicks might steal a game in a series maybe even 2 but its heat over spurs 4-2

  6. patfic15 - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    This series is practically a first round bye for Miami. Eastern conference is pathetic w exception of 2 teams.

  7. soopreme - Apr 22, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    Brandon Jennings.
    ” No Problem, 0 down and 6 to go.”

  8. southbeachtalent - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Even though the outcome was lop-sided the Heat need to take care of the ball more. Besides that this round should be pretty un-eventful.

  9. DonRSD - Apr 22, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    1/16

  10. klownboy - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Well, at least the Heat is making my first round prediction look good lol.
    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-DE

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