Apr 23, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat power forward Juwan Howard (center) greets teammate power forward Chris Andersen (left) in the second half during game two in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena. Miami won 98-86. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Heat @ Milwaukee Bucks Game 3 Preview: Keys to the Game

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The Miami Heat have a commanding 2-0 lead after taking both home games against the Milwaukee Bucks, but as the old saying goes, “the series does not start until both teams play at home.”

With that said, the Miami Heat know they have accomplished nothing if they let the Bucks steal game 3 and creep back into the series. The Heat are more talented and the better overall team then the Bucks, but there is no need for the team to “give” the Bucks a game and unnecessarily prolong this series.

For this to happen, here are my three keys for the Miami Heat tonight:

  • Key # 1: Control the Role Players: Something I have never understood in my years of watching basketball is why role players always seem to play better at home. Is it the familiarity? Is it knowing the court better than your opponent? Whatever the reason, the Heat defense needs to be stifling by attacking the three point line and closing out the lane on any drive. The Heat will also need to get out and force turnovers by pressuring the ball handler. Role players are in their best comfort zone at home, the Heat need to take away that advantage.

Apr 23, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Milwaukee Bucks small forward Ersan Ilyasova (right) shoots over Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (center) as Heat small forward LeBron James (left) looks on in the first half during game two in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

 

  • Key #2: Take the Crowd out of the Game: Players that play with high emotion tend to feed off of the crowd. Both Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are emotional guys throughout the game. They tend to feed off of the road crowd when they get rough and the home crowd when they are cheered. If the Heat can jump off to an early start, with a couple of Lebron James monster dunks mixed in, the Heat maybe able to get the Bradley Center crowd quiet and set the tone for the rest of the game. The Heat cannot go through a spell where they lose interest and allow the Bucks and the crowd back in the game either.

Apr 21, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) reacts after dunking the ball in the second half during game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

 

  • Key #3: Dwyane Wade: Wade will be back in the city that he played his college ball in. He attended the University of Marquette for three years, which included leading his team to the Final Four in his final season. A banner bearing Dwyane Wade‘s jersey number hangs in the Bradley Center and Wade hopes to remind the home town crowd to keep looking at it on Thursday night. Wade showed some pep in his step in game two, driving into the paint at will and even had an impressive dunk that got the crowd on it’s feet. Wade needs to establish himself in this series before the Heat take on a better quality of opponent in Round 2. A return home could get Wade healthy and headed in the right direction.

 

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