Most everyone agrees the Bucks are in a series they can't win, and in game one the Heat forced them into a game they couldn't win, either.
While LeBron James (27 on 11 shots, 10 reb, 8 ast) was spearheading a red-hot Heat attack that could do no wrong, Miami's defense made the Bucks' offense look stagnant and unimaginative. Brandon Jennings (26 points on 8/20 fg, 4/10 threes) and Monta Ellis (22 pts, 10/19 fg, 1/6 threes, 1/6 ft) freelancing their way to solid scoring nights? That's something the Heat can live with, particularly when everyone else in a Milwaukee uniform was rendered virtual non-factors by Miami's crisply-rotating defense.
So while Milwaukee kept the game respectable for most of the first three quarters, the 110-87 final score was ultimately a fair representation of the Heat's domination in shooting (56% to 41%) and rebounding (46-31) terms. And in contrast to the Bucks, depth was no issue for Miami. Ray Allen added 20 points on 13 shots, Chris Bosh 15 on seven shots (including a trio of first half threes), Dwyane Wade 16 on 12 shots, and Chris Andersen added an energetic 10 points and seven boards off the bench.
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The Heat came out flying from the opening tip, with Bosh slamming home on their opening possession and James scoring a transition and-one immediately thereafter. Shortly thereafter Bosh swished a pair of corner threes in Sanders' grill, and everything that could be going wrong for the Bucks seemingly was.
Just as worryingly, Miami's closeouts and swarming work in the paint was denying the Bucks good looks on the other end, and with six minutes left in the quarter the Bucks had already dug themselves a 13-point hole. But once the opening frenzy had passed, the Bucks worked their way back into the game in typical Bucks fashion. A three and scooped banker from Jennings highlighted a 16-5 run to narrow the gap to just two at the end of the period, and Jennings would add three more acrobatic layups in the second as Miami's sloppiness (11 first half turnovers) prevented them from hitting a field goal for over six minutes.
But the Bucks also showed precious little ability to break the Bucks down in halfcourt--Miami rotated and closed out crisply, rendering Milwaukee's shooters complete non-factors. Everything the Bucks got was either in transition before Miami could get set or freelance moves by Jennings and Ellis off the dribble, as Dunleavy, Redick and Ilyasova saw precious little daylight while combining to hit just 2/13 to start the game. It's an unsustainable way to try to beat a team like Miami, and the fact that the Bucks were destroyed in spite of Jennings and Ellis scoring at a reasonable clip underscores the importance of finding new ways to involve the Bucks' other scorers.
The Bucks finished the first half down a modest 52-45 and narrowed Miami's lead to just four following Ellis' three to open the third. But despite Ellis' best efforts, the Bucks simply couldn't keep up with Miami's more balanced offense, and the game was effectively iced in the closing minutes of the third on a pair of monster dunks from James and Andersen. Overwhelmed early on, John Henson had a couple decent moments in the fourth, but other than that there was little to feel good about as the Heat lead continued to swell until the final buzzer.