The Miami Heat team said all the right things before their first round series started against the Milwaukee Bucks. They respected the opponent, with players mentioning that the Bucks have played them well lately in the regular season.
And yet, two games later the Heat haven't exactly played their best ball or even displayed much consistency, at least in the first half of both games. Chris Bosh hasn't been much of a factor so far, Udonis Haslem has done little after the opening minutes of either game and Mario Chalmers hasn't reached double-figures yet.
Unfortunately for the Bucks, the Heat's depth has been on display as coach Erik Spoelstra has implemented a 9-player postseason rotation and the four bench players Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Chris "Birdman" Andersen have all contributed admirably to the cause. Oh yeah, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are pretty good too - stuffing the box score with King James in particular displaying some remarkable offensive efficiency despite stellar defense from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
The Bucks' game plan has been confusing so far, with their backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis heavily featured on offense in the first game with a combined 48 of the team's 87 points. However in the second game, they only totaled 15 points while their big man duo of Larry Sanders (14 points) and Ersan Ilyasova (21 points) were the main reason the Bucks hung around as long as they did.
But none of the Bucks power rotation had an answer for the Heat's penetration and Birdman's constant attack on the rim and it showed in the rebounding numbers with the #8 seed getting out-rebounded by double-digits in both games. That's especially unfortunate considering how many times the Heat have been outplayed in the battle of the boards during the regular season and yet still kept on winning. With just four offensive rebounds in Game 2, the Bucks had little chance of countering the Heat's offense - especially once the defending champs went on their 12-0 scoring run in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
The Bucks will almost certainly attempt to even out the offense to feature their talented backcourt more than they did in Game 2 but answers to how to contain the Heat will need to come quickly because falling behind 0-3 in this series will assuredly mark the end of their season. No NBA team still has come back from that kind of deficit but even more disheartening for Bucks fans is the fact that their team has never won a series down 0-2 and the Heat have never lost a series up 2-0 (via ESPN).
Looking for Miami Heat tickets? Hot Hot Hoops has you covered.
Thursday, Apr 25, 2013, 7:00 PM EDT
BMO Harris Bradley Center