The Miami Heat minus an injured Dwyane Wade closed out the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday afternoon with an 88-77 victory, sweeping the best-of-seven series four games to none.
As was a theme in this series, the Bucks lulled the Miami Heat to sleep for three quarters, hanging around until the Heat decided enough was enough. Miami led by just four at halftime, and five after three quarters, before LeBron James and Ray Allen took control. LeBron finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals, while Allen hit four of seven threes on his way to finishing with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Monte Ellis finished 10-20 from the field, scoring 21 in the losing effort, while his back-court partner Brandon Jennings was busy throwing in the towel on his bold "Bucks in six... er seven" prediction. Jennings went 1-7, totaling a whopping three points, seemingly taking his vacation 48 minutes early. Milwaukee's play and its home crowd made the Sunday-afternoon game feel like a scrimmage, completely lacking anything resembling the energy it would take to beat Miami and in turn sending the series back to Miami for game five.
The Heat chose to sit Wade after watching him in warmups, starting Mike Miller instead. Wade sat on the bench and was very in the game, so you have to believe the Heat was just willing to take its chances without him, a confidence fueled by the late-season play of Miami's bench.
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If the Bulls are able to beat the Nets in game five of their series, the Heat would face them next Saturday in Miami. If the Nets prolong the series, the earliest the Heat could play next is a week from Monday. In other words, let's hope our guys have a lot of stuff in their Netflix queue, because it's gonna be a hot second before they are asked to take the court again. The Heat might need another training camp if the Nets and Bulls go the full seven games of the series -- but then again playing themselves in practice might be tougher than the next opponent.
So we sit back and watch everyone else beat each other up for a while, and really, that's what you need to hope for: long series, especially the Knicks-Boston affair, which includes the two oldest teams in the playoffs. Considering all the injuries that have occurred in the NBA thus far, you have to just be happy the Heat is relatively healthy 25 percent of the way to a title defense.
So far, so good.