It’s not always about LeBron James when it comes to the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade might be playing second fiddle in this show, but he can take the lead once in a while, which doesn’t make the NBA champions any less of a team. In a game in which they needed a little bit of a different spark, Wade was the one to provide it as they took a 2-0 in their first round series.
Wade finished with 21 points and 7 rebounds on 8-14 shooting, while LeBron James and the rest of the team didn’t come up with the flying start they had in the first game, needing a little bit of a shake or two from the Milwaukee Bucks, who played much better defensively the second time around, not allowing the Heat to find their way into the paint so easily, although it didn’t last very long. Eventually, Miami, led by a much more aggressive James in the second half, found its way into the paint, where they’ve been unstoppable in the series.
The Heat are shooting 44-of-57 (77.2%) inside 5 feet in the series, and they led the NBA in field goal percentage inside 5 feet during the regular season, which makes it no surprise they’re doing so well against the Bucks, who don’t defend well in the paint once Larry Sanders has more than his hands full, leading to another double digit win for the Heat, 98-86.
James? Quiet, relatively. He scored only 19 points, adding 8 rebounds and 6 assists while missing all three 3-point attempts, as the Heat shot a abysmal 22.2% from beyond the arc. They had trouble getting in the open court despite forcing 16 turnovers, leading to a low number of assists, but their defense kept the Bucks from making the most of the situation, and eventually folded them.
Two surprising heroes in the game were Chris Andersen, quickly becoming a fan favorite for the Miami Heat, and Norris Cole, who isn’t new to providing energy pushes off the bench. The Heat began the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run; 10 of the 12 points were scored by Norris Cole and Chris Andersen. The Heat had Andersen on for only 12 minutes, but he finished with 10 points and 6 rebounds, and they were up by 14 points during his time on the floor, giving them a much needed player that can force some second chance points that the Heat haven’t been doing too well in getting.
The Bucks did get some contribution from Ersan Ilyasova (finally), scoring 21 points, but it seemed to come at the cost of Brandon Jennings, scoring only 8 points on 3-15 from the field, as he and Monta Ellis were hardly allowed a decent shot all night. For the Bucks to have any kind of chance, they need all three clicking on the offensive level, and even that, sadly for them, and a testament to how good the Miami Heat are, might not be enough.