Published April 22, 2013
| Sports Network
Miami, FL – No team has ever headed into the NBA playoffs on a bigger roll than the Miami Heat.
On paper, the defending champs are expected to wash away the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Heat looked like every bit the part of the favorite in their postseason opener.
LeBron James had 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in Miami's wire- to-wire 110-87 rout of the Bucks in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference first- round series.
James tallied those 27 after tying a playoff career low with only 11 shot attempts. He made nine of those tries. James had only taken just 11 shots in a playoff game twice before.
"He really let the game come to him, he facilitated quite a bit for us, he was creating triggers a lot of times by setting screens and generated a lot of offense just by doing that. What a very mature high IQ game, he made that look easier than it was," Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said of James.
Ray Allen netted 20 points, Dwyane Wade added 16 and Chris Bosh finished with 15 for the Heat, who went 30-2 since the All-Star break, the best second-half winning percentage in NBA history. That mark topped the 31-4 record the Utah Jazz posted during the 1996-97 season.
Brandon Jennings, who predicted the Bucks would defeat the Heat in six games, tallied 18 of his 26 points in the first half for Milwaukee, which closed the year by dropping 15 of its last 21 tilts. Monta Ellis recorded 22 points in defeat.
"I thought that in the first half we played with some good energy, had good ball movement and created some turnovers. In the third quarter they came out with a little bit more focus and more purpose," Milwaukee interim head coach Jim Boylan said.
The Bucks haven't won an opening-round series since 2001.
Game 2 is slated for Tuesday in Miami.
An Ellis 3-pointer pulled the Bucks within 52-48 in the early stages of the third before the Heat scored the next nine to seize control of the contest. Bosh capped the surge with a triple and a pair of free throws on back-to-back possessions to make it 61-48 with 9:31 left in the frame.
Later in the stanza, with the Bucks' interior defensive presence Larry Sanders on the bench saddled with four fouls, the Heat seemed to have a free path to the rim and closed the third on a 7-0 spurt.
After Ellis' jumper cut the deficit to 73-65, James drove in for a left-handed dunk and fed Andersen for an easy flush before the "Birdman" flew down the lane and threw down Shane Battier's 3-point miss from the right corner. James then split a pair of foul shots as Miami headed into the final 12 minutes with an 80-65 cushion.
The margin reached its peak at 25 in the fourth.
Miami stormed out of the gate and jumped out to a 21-8 start as Bosh knocked down a pair of treys. The Bucks, though, closed the opening stanza on a 16-5 swing to get within 26-24 after a quarter of play. Jennings had 10 points during the surge.
Milwaukee hung around in the second and headed into the break down by a 52-45 count.
Miami outrebounded the Bucks, 46-31, and held a 50-34 points in the paint advantage ... The Heat shot 55.9 percent (38-of-68) from the floor and held Milwaukee to 41.5 percent (34-of-82) from the field.