Erik Spoelstra's Miami Heat understand that nothing is going to be given to them, but if they come out and do what LBJ did in this game, they reinforce that they have not only a great starting five and elite trio, but also a vastly underrated bench with many role players who perfectly occupy their roles within the Heat's rotation.
The Heat did just that tonight in Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks, and it wasn't all just the big three, though they were brilliant to be sure. The Heat open the game in a tightly contested match. They led by just six at the half, over a Bucks team that was relying heavily on its gunner Brandon Jennings.
But LeBron James ended up being too much. And the Heat did end up taking Game 1 as expected by a score of 110-87.
The Heat jumped out on a 7-0 run to begin the game and established the tone early as they got out in transition on their home court. It was enough to prove they were ready to start their eventual and likely sweep of this Bucks team.
For Miami, it was often about the play of guys like Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Shane Battier, Norris Cole, Ray Allen and Chris "Birdman" Andersen. You know, the guys on their team other than the three who so frequently appear on the screen.
That supporting cast is far better than anticipated, and it is one of the reasons why Pat Riley is regarded as one of the best GMs in the Association. The game grades Miami's players received tonight are a further reflection of how well balanced and how good this team is and can be.