NBA Playoffs: Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks
2013 NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game #3
#1 Miami Heat at #8 Milwaukee Bucks
Heat Lead Best of Seven Series 2-0
Thursday, April 25, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
BMO Harris Bradley Center – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Opening Line: Miami -7 1/2
Current Line: Miami -7
Opening Total: 195 1/2
Current Total: 195 1/2
Opening Money Line: Heat -335 / Bucks +285
Current Money Line: Heat -330 / Bucks +280
Before the playoffs Milwaukee guard Brandon Jennings predicted his Milwaukee Bucks’ team would upset the vaunted Miami Heat in six games. Well, in order for that to happen the Bucks will have to win 4 straight games against a team that has gone 39-2 in their last 41 games. To say it is an uphill climb would be an understatement. The Bucks return to Milwaukee Thursday night for game #3 facing a must win game against the Heat. No NBA team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in a best of seven series.
Miami won the first two games of the series at home with relative ease. Miami won game one 110-87 Sunday. In game two Tuesday, the Heat were rather lackadaisical through 3 quarters and were only up 68-65. The Bucks could sense they could steal the game and home court advantage. However, in a 2 minute and 22 second stretch to start the fourth that should be terrifying to every other team in the playoffs, Miami went on a 12-0 run and were never threatened again. It was like watching a boxer who is behind on the scorecards deliver a knockout punch from seemingly out of nowhere. Perhaps even like a drag racer hitting that nitrous boost to pull ahead. Miami would go up by as many as 19, and looked like they could cover the huge 14.5 point spread. In garbage time Milwaukee would cut into the lead. The Heat were up by 15 when Bucks’ forward Mike Dunleavy hit a 3 pointer to make it 98-86 with 27 seconds left. Neither team would score again and Milwaukee stayed within the huge spread. Miami has beaten Milwaukee 5 times in six tries this season. Milwaukee did win at home in late December 104-85 though.
Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat are 46-37 ATS this season and the total is 42-40-1. Miami is outscoring teams 103-95 this season. The Heat are #5 in scoring and in points allowed. Miami is shooting 49.6% from the field and 39.6% from 3 point range. The Heat lead the league in field goal shooting and are #2 in 3 point shooting. Miami makes 75.4% of their free throws. The Heat are last in the league in rebounding at 38.6 per game, and fourth in rebounds allowed with 40.1. Miami opponents are shooting 44% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. Miami is 11th or better in both categories. The Heat average 23 assists, 8.7 steals, 5.4 blocks, and 13.3 turnovers per game.
Forward LeBron James is averaging 26.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He is the prohibitive favorite to win his fourth MVP award. Guard Dwyane Wade averages 21.2 points, 5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Forward/center Chris Bosh averages 16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game. Guard Ray Allen averages 10.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Point guard Mario Chalmers averages 8.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Forward Shane Battier averages 6.6 points and 2.3 rebounds. Battier is probable with a face injury. Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, and Chris Andersen make up the rest of the rotation.
Milwaukee is coached by interim coach Jim Boylan, who took over for Scott Skiles after Skiles was fired in mid-season. The Bucks are 38-45 ATS and the total is 39-42-2 this season. Milwaukee is being outscored 100-99 this season. The Bucks are shooting 43.5% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. The Bucks are #28 in field goal percentage. Milwaukee makes 73.6% of their free throws. The Bucks are #5 in rebounding at 44 per game but last in rebounds allowed at 46.1. Milwaukee opponents are shooting 45.4% from the field and 34.8% from 3 point range. The Bucks are #8 in 3 point defense. Milwaukee averages 22.9 assists, 8.4 steals, 6.7 blocks, and 13.6 turnovers per game.
Point guard Monta Ellis averages 19.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Jennings averages 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Forward Ersan Ilyasova averages 13.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. He is probable with a wrist injury. Guard J.J. Redick was acquired in trade from the Orlando Magic. He averages 12.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Forward Mike Dunleavy averages 10.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists. Center Larry Sanders averages 9.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.8 blocks per game. He is probable with an ankle injury.
Miami is 4-0 ATS after failing to cover, 10-1 against teams with losing records, 5-1 after a straight up win of 10 points or more, 4-1 in Thursday games, after a straight up win, and against Central Division teams, 10-3 against teams with winning home records, 19-7 in road games, and 5-2 in Conference Quarterfinal games. The under is 4-0-1 ATS in the last 5 in this series.
Milwaukee is 4-0 ATS on one day rest, 4-1 after a straight up loss, 20-42 against teams with winning records, 5-11-1 in conference quarterfinal games, 6-14 at home, 3-7 after a straight up loss of more than 10 points, 6-20 against Eastern Conference teams, 3-12 against Southeast Division teams, 1-4 against teams with winning road records, and 1-7 after a cover. The over is 15-6 in the last 21 games in this series in Milwaukee.
Miami had the best road record in the league during the regular season. If Miami is properly motivated, they should sweep this series, but the Bucks will be confident knowing they had a chance in game two in Miami. I just have a feeling that Bucks fans will be checking to see who the Packers drafted by the second half. I like Miami to win and cover on the road.
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