Well, this was a great warm-up for the defending champions — the playoffs haven’t even started for the Miami Heat.
Let’s face it: the Milwaukee Bucks shouldn’t even be in the postseason. They were under .500 this season. And they made the playoffs instead of the Utah Jazz, a team that was four games above .500 in the much-tougher Western conference. And if every NBA fan screaming “Borrriiiiinnnngggg!” after realizing they would have to watch the Heat play the Bucks (i.e. be forced to endure four games of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis hoisting 22-foot jumpers) doesn’t convince the NBA to reformat their playoff system nothing will.
Pretty much the only exciting thing that happened this series was Brandon Jennings’ foolishly stupid prediction (“The Bucks will win in six games!”).
Sorry, B-Jennings, but the ‘Heatles’ cruised to their fourth victory in a row over this undersized Bucks squad. This series essentially looked like a nationally televised practice for the Miami Heat.
With no legitimate threat from this outmatched Bucks squad, Dwayne Wade didn’t even have to play today. And you can’t really blame him. He was only averaging a tepid 13 points per game and shooting 37% from the field. Wade will probably get a week’s rest as the Heat wait for the eventual winner of the Bulls/Nets series, so hopefully D-Wade can find his mojo during the Heat’s break.
The Heat began pulling away right from the start. However, back-to-back three pointers by Mike Dunleavy, and Ilyasova closed the lead to seven in the second quarter. Then an explosive, high-flying layup, followed by another running jumper in the lane by Monta Ellis cut the Heat’s lead to only three. The Heat responded with a Mike Miller 3-pointer and Miami led 45-41 at the half.
Early in the 3rd quarter, Milwaukee trimmed the lead to just one point. Miami, seemingly unfazed, continue to trade baskets with the Bucks and finished the quarter strongly, up by five.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Ray Allen knocked down a corner three pointer to extend his record for playoff three pointers. On the next possession, J.J. Reddick fumbled a pass, leading to another Heat score. Following the basket, Dunleavy, committed another turnover.
Dunleavy redeemed himself, after corralling an offensive rebound and knocking down his third 3-pointer of the game. After a Miami miss, Ellis stormed down the lane and scored another hoop. The crowd began to come alive again, as the lead shrunk to only two points.
But the Bucks’ offensive spurt, was put to bed when Ray Allen quieted the crowd by knocking down his fourth 3-pointer of the game. On the next Heat possession, Mario Chalmers nailed another 3-pointer and the Bucks quickly called timeout. Following the timeout, Shane Battier added another three, LeBron James drove down the left side of the court to finish a 3-point play after being fouled by Mbah A Moute, and the Heat’s lead expanded to 15 points.
And just like that the game was over, along with the Bucks’ season.
LeBron finished the game with 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting with 7 assists.
As the Heat prepare for the second round, the Bucks’ organization will enter the offseason with many question marks. J.J. Redick and Monta Ellis are both unrestricted agents, and Brandon Jennings will be a restricted free agent as well.