NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 23rd (All times Eastern)
(8) Milwaukee Bucks (0-1) at (1) Miami Heat (1-0), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat have a virtual checklist on their playoff website called the "2013 Championship Countdown."
One game is checked off, 15 remain and the next one to get crossed out could come Tuesday night when the defending champion Heat host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.
The Heat rolled in a 110-87 romp on Sunday at American Airlines Arena.
Miami was led by LeBron James and his near triple-double. He scored 27 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out eight assists. All of those numbers were game-highs and the reigning MVP shot 9-for-11 from the field.
"I'm setting the bar actually too high for myself," he joked. "Shooting what I did tonight, if I go 9-for-18, guys look at me crazy."
That's unlikely, but the Heat looked pretty awesome in the first game of their title defense.
"I didn't have any flashbacks," said James.
The Heat didn't look awesome until the second half on Sunday. It was a seven- point game at the half, then Miami won the final two frames by a combined 16 points.
Ray Allen scored 20 points off the bench, while Dwyane Wade added 16 and Chris Bosh 15. Chris Anderson continued to prove his worth as in-season signing with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Miami shot 56 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Bucks, 46-31. That last statistic is particularly shocking since the Bucks finished fifth in rebounding and the Heat were last in the NBA.
But, the Heat committed 19 turnovers, which led to 22 Bucks' points and only shot 30 percent from 3-point range.
"We know we can play a better game. We didn't play our best game, we didn't shoot the ball the way we're capable of from the outside," said James. "We shared the ball, we had 22 assists. We rebounded the ball too. We out- rebounded them by 15. That helps."
The Bucks were led by their starting backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. Jennings had 26 points and Ellis added 22, but the two combined for five assists as the rest of the team shot 37 percent from the field with no other Bucks player in double figures.
"If you look at it, we passed the ball, shots just weren't going down," said Ellis. "We had guys that normally hit shots, that weren't hitting shots. I know Game 2 won't be like that."
The starting frontcourt of Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Mbah a Moute and Larry Sanders combined for 14 points, including two from Ilyasova, who averaged 13.2 ppg during the regular season.
The defense needs to improve for Milwaukee to stand any chance. They allowed 110 points on 56 percent shooting and failed to block a shot in a game for the first time this season.
"No one's in a panic. We played one game," said interim head coach Jim Boylan.
Yes, it's only one game, but Miami looks at it as 15 more to go.
04/23 10:32:35 ET