NBA PLAYOFFS 2013
(1) Miami Heat VS Milwaukee Bucks (8)
Regular season record: (66-16) Miami Heat : Milwaukee Bucks (38-44)
Regular season series: Miami Heat 3 – 1 Milwaukee Bucks
- Milwaukee ranks first in the NBA in field goal attempts (87.8). Miami ranks last in the same category (77.4).
- Despite the massive difference in field goal attempts, Miami leads the league in field goal percentage (49.5%), while Milwaukee ranks 28th (43.5%).
- Milwaukee is coming into the first round with nine consecutive losses on the road.
- In their four meetings this season, Miami has dominated on the boards. The Heat rank 30th in the league in rebounding (38.7) but have grabbed 48.8 rebounds per game against Milwaukee, a number that would by far lead the league.
- Milwaukee has good rim protection in Larry Sanders, but overall the team has struggled defending the roll man in pick-and-rolls, allowing their opponents a field goal percentage of 51.5% in these plays. Miami ranks first in the NBA in points per play in these situations, having the roll man shooting at a blistering 59.8% from the field.
Miami can win if…
To win the series, Miami will have synergize all of their offensive weapons, much like they have done all season long. Their improved 3-point shooting makes them almost unguardable, and you have to pick your poison when you play against the NBA champions. If you collapse in the paint and cut off driving lanes for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the two superstars will find their teammates, who are usually parked around the perimeter.
Milwaukee can win if…
Well, let’s be honest – they really can’t. Even though the Bucks have matched up quite well against Miami this season, they still lost the season series and there is simply no chance of an upset here. Even so, that doesn’t mean Milwaukee can’t steal a game, or, if they are really lucky, two. The Bucks have a great defensive presence in Larry Sanders, and will have to use their prominent shot-blocker to their advantage. They have to kill Miami on the boards, which they have failed to do thus far, and try to get Monta Ellis going, who has struggled against the Heat. Ersan Ilyasova is a great weapon to throw at the Heat as well, as he can cause a mismatch with his size and 3-point shooting ability.
Miami will look to start out their long postseason run with a bang. I expect the Heat to finish their opponents fast and this series could very well end in a sweep. The Bucks simply don’t have the necessary weapons to put pressure on Miami and make this into a competitive series. Miami will shut down Monta Ellis, just like they have done when the teams previously met, but that won’t prevent him from taking a bunch of ill-advised shots, thus burying his team. I still think the Bucks can steal one game, by heating up from beyond the arc at home.
Winner: Miami Heat 4 – 1 Milwaukee Bucks