Milwaukee actually came into the fourth quarter down by just three points with a ton of momentum after cutting the lead down from eight points. A LeBron James-Chris Andersen spark led to a 12-point run to start the fourth and the demise of the Bucks.
Dwyane Wade ended up being key in two different runs, scoring eight points in the third quarter and then a few more to extend the run in the fourth, but LeBron's stat line makes him impossible to ignore. He put up 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Milwaukee came out in this one looking to show its aggression early on, and it did just that, taking the lead early in the first quarter and not giving it up until there was but a minute left in the first.
Most surprising, it wasn't Monta Ellis or Brandon Jennings getting to the bucket or hitting jumpers. It was Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute doing everything to find the bottom for the Bucks.
In fact, Ellis and Jennings missed every shot they took in the first half, shockingly opting to set up their teammates and move the ball around the perimeter.
The only problem was that the team on the other side of the ball had LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Oh, and Mario Chalmers. You can't forget about 'Rio.
Miami consistently turned the ball over in the first, but ended up putting up enough points to come into the second quarter with a two-point lead.
The story continued in the second. The Heat did enough to stay ahead, while the Bucks did everything in their power to take the lead, just unable to climb over the wall that the advantage created.
Wade said it all in the interview before halftime, "We have a four-point lead with them playing very well."
Monta finally made a jumper a few minutes into the third quarter (Jennings would make two, both coming after the four-minute mark in the third), but Miami's wall in front of the lead stood strong.
Continued solid defense, along with Wade going on a quick scoring spurt, continued to stymie Milwaukee's attack.
The Bucks backcourt went into hero mode late in the third, shooting (and missing) consecutive three-pointers, but were still able to cut the lead to just three points thanks to a crucial Miami turnover before the end of the quarter.
Miami used a high-energy lineup to increased the lead at the start of the fourth. Or, as I like to look at it, Milwaukee put in Ish Smith and immediately fell apart.
From that point on, it was all Milwaukee could do to keep the lead at 15 as Miami's defense continued to smother, and it made do with holding pace for the remainder of the game.
Surprisingly enough, Milwaukee was able to hold the lead through the majority of the first quarter, forcing five turnovers in the first five minutes of the game.
LARRY SANDERS! had a rough Game 1. Smooth sailing, and SMASHING, so far in this one. Sanders dunk gives him 4 pts and the Bucks a 9-4 lead— Dime Smash! (@DimeSmash) April 23, 2013
Ersan Ilyasova was huge for the Bucks in the first quarter, putting in five of his eight attempts after a lackluster Game 1.
Ersan Ilyasova had two points in 28 minutes of Game 1. He has 12 points in 10 minutes of Game 2. #EarlyRedemption— ESPN (@espn) April 23, 2013
The Heat finally did take a lead with just a minute left in the first. Shane Battier hit a three-pointer and got to the stripe for a few freebies.
LeBron is just waiting for the Bucks defense to screw up and then he makes the pass.— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) April 24, 2013
Miami didn't do us the favor of running away with the game in the first quarter, so decisions had to be made.
NBA (@SBNationNBA) April 24, 2013
LeBron hit the pine early on in the second, which gave Wade his chance to rumble along with the second unit, and he threw in six quick points.
The Wade bank shot. It's 2006.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) April 24, 2013
Perhaps most importantly, there was a man in a dress wearing a Mohawk that went absolutely berserk for Chris Andersen and his shenanigans.
Whoa, that guy in the dress with the birdman look— SBNation NBA (@SBNationNBA) April 24, 2013
Things seemed to be going perfectly for the Bucks. The only problem was that they continued to look up at the Heat on the scoreboard.
LeBron just fell for a pump fake by Mbah a Moute. Nothing makes sense anymore.— Adam Reisinger (@AdamReisinger) April 24, 2013
But of course, LeBron continued to do that thing where he's really good at basketball and just doesn't miss.
LeBron James has 15 points in 1st half on 5-6 FG. In the playoffs, he is shooting a remarkable 82.3% (14-17) from the field.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 24, 2013
Milwaukee's run to start off the third quarter gave it the tie early on. Miami just has to accept that runs are going to happen when Larry Sanders is hitting jumpers.
That felt like one of the longest shots Larry Sanders has ever hit.— Adam Fromal (@fromal09) April 24, 2013
Somehow, Wade continued to play like 2006 Dwyane, and the Heat began to pull away.
Dwyane Wade with the RIDICULOUS two handed SMASH follow of a Chalmers miss. Wade is coming alive: he has 18 points— Dime Smash! (@DimeSmash) April 24, 2013
Monta Ellis came up with a steal and a bucket just before the end of the third quarter to keep the game close.
The fact that Milwaukee is still in this game despite going 1-for-13 on threes and 5-for-10 on FTs is remarkable.— SBNation NBA (@SBNationNBA) April 24, 2013
The only negative part of Miami's fourth-quarter dominance was a female fan who wouldn't stop wooing.
Can someone shut the woman near the microphones up in Miami?— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) April 24, 2013
Who keeps stepping on a duck in Miami.?..are you kidding me? #irritating— Fred McLeod (@CavsFredMcLeod) April 24, 2013
That was about it. The Heat were able to coast the rest of the way as their defensive engine continued to hum.
A second win at home puts Miami up two games to none, putting all the pressure on Milwaukee to even make this one a series by winning a game, or even two in its wildest dreams, at home.
After watching Miami struggle to put the Bucks away for three quarters and then do it in just over two minutes at the start of the fourth, it seems unlikely that anything beyond a sweep happens in the next two games.
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