The Miami Heat blew out the Milwaukee Bucks 110-87 Sunday to take a 1-0 lead in the first-round playoff series. But the Heat players cannot rest on their laurels, as they still have to finish the job of protecting home court tonight at 7:30 on NBATV to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
Miami's biggest blemish in Game 1 was its 19 turnovers. Aside from a spurt to start the game, the Heat played a little lackadaisically for much of the first half. Miami sometimes settled from less-than-stellar shot attempts and allowed Milwaukee to hang in the game. The Heat adjusted at halftime and played the second half with more sharpness, but Miami can certainly play better. The offense may improve by simple randomness; Ray Allen and Shane Battier probably won't shoot a combined 3-for-15 from beyond the arc again tonight.
Moreover, the Heat should continue to utilize what worked well Sunday. Miami neutralized Larry Sanders, thanks in large part to his five fouls in 18 minutes. But the Heat also utilized Chris Bosh as a floor-spacer from the opening tip, dragging Sanders out to the 3-point line. Bosh shot 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in Game 1, and while his percentages from that distance will likely decline, simply having him there provides extra spacing for the Heat. When he was on the court, Sanders wasn't playing like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.
LeBron James scored 27 points on just 11 field goal attempts in Game 1. All of those shots were either at the rim or 3-pointers, the two most efficient shots in basketball. If Miami simply plays with discipline, the Heat players won't have to expend any more energy than they need to in this series.
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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013, 7:30 PM EDT