MIAMI HEAT (66-16) vs. MILWAUKEE BUCKS (38-44) ...  
Schedule: April 21, April 23, April 25, April 28, April 30, May 2, May 4 / Miami won the regular season series 3-1

KEYS

FOR MIAMI:

- Get Chris Bosh involved early. Bosh especially is difficult to match up since he has a strong medium range game but can take a defender inside and he has also hit 31 three-point field goals. Getting Bosh involved early is vital for Miami. When he returned from injury the last playoffs, Miami was a much more dangerous and efficient team.

- Let James run the show. LeBron James could play point forward, point guard, shooting guard, small forward or center if he wants. He has great decision-making and what has made him more dangerous is how much James has improved his outside shot. So Miami should run the offense through James. He’s been even more effective driving to the basket since teams play him much tighter due to his improved range on the jumper.

- Get others but the Big Three to contribute. Miami has a tendency to rely heavily on James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade and for good reason. Still, there will be games when the others have to step up. Mario Chalmers is an erratic shooter, but he has made some awfully big shots in the postseason.

FOR MILWAUKEE:

- Guard play. If Milwaukee is to be competitive, it will have to get good scoring from guards. Monta Ellis is capable of exploding, but he is streaky, evidenced by the fact he shot under 29 percent from beyond the arc. Brandon Jennings has been insistent lately and must score around his average (17.5 ppg). JJ Redick has the ability to spread the defense with his three-point shooting. Redick is also an excellent free throw shooter (91.8 percent) and must get to the line.

- Defend Wade. As proficient as Ellis and Jennings are on the offensive end, they are not considered strong defensively. Neither of those two, nor Redick, can match up with Wade, especially when he takes players off the dribble.

- Defending the perimeter game. Miami likes to put four perimeter shooters on the court. Milwaukee, with Larry Sanders and rookie John Henson, is suited well to defend the paint, but the Bucks could be beaten off the dribble by Miami and the Heat could get a lot of open shots.

- Don’t fall asleep on Ray Allen. While Allen’s minutes and points are down from previous years, he should be fresh for the postseason and he remains one of the more potent three-point shooters in the playoffs. With such much doubling of James and Wade, Allen will get open shots. This year he hit nearly 42 percent of his three-point attempts, showing he can still be proficient from beyond the arc.

- Get production from Ersan Ilyasova. While the Bucks are a proficient scoring team in the backcourt, Ilyasova (13.2 ppg) is a frontcourt scoring threat. He was also the team’s best three-point percentage shooter (44.4 percent) and will also help to spread out the Miami defense.

STATISTICS
SEASON
MIA MIL
102.9 Points scored 98.9
95.0 Points allowed 100.4
49.6 FG% 43.5
39.6 3P FG% 36.0
75.4 FT% 73.6
38.6 Rebounds 43.9
23.0 Assists 22.9
5.4 Blocks 6.7
8.7 Steals 8.3
986 Accumulated playoff games 220
HEAD-TO-HEAD
MIA MIL
99.8 Points scored 96.8
15.8 Turnovers 11.3
46.5 FG% 41.0
33.3 3P FG% 31.0
74.2 FT% 81.3
48.8 Rebounds 44.3
22.3 Assists 21.0
4.2 Blocks 4.2
7.2 Steals 11.2
MATCHUPS
PG SG SF PF C BENCH
Mario ChalmersBrandon Jennings Dwyane WadeMonta Ellis LeBron JamesMike Dunleavy Udonis HaslemErsan Ilyasova Chris BoshLarry Sanders Ray AllenPatrick O'Bryant
PROJECTION: HEAT IN FOUR.