LeBron James, Heat sweep Bucks
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
MILWAUKEE — The Miami Heat may not have a preference who they play in the second round. Chicago Bulls or Brooklyn Nets, it doesn’t matter to the Heat.
That doesn’t mean Miami doesn’t have a rooting interest.
The Heat are pulling for a six- or seven-game series between the Bulls and Nets – the longer the better for the Heat, who seek rest and recovery, especially for shooting guard Dwyane Wade, who missed Game 4 Sunday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Heat missed Wade, but they were still able to sweep the Milwaukee Bucks with a 88-77 victory.
It was the first series sweep for the Heat since forwards LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Wade in 2010-11. The Heat had chances to sweep the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round in 2011 and the New York Knicks in the first round lasts season. But both teams were able for fifth games.
“It’s always tough,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said before the game. “We’ve been up 3-0 a couple of times before and haven’t been able to close out teams. That’s one other opportunity to accomplish something as a group knowing how challenging it is. But we think we’re up to it.”
The Heat didn’t exactly through the motions, and even without Wade, it was far from their best performance. But shorthanded, the Heat are still the superior team.
The Bucks hung around long enough to make it interesting.
“We have to come out and compete today,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said before the game. “We are professionals. We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our fans and we owe it to our organization to come out and give 110%.”
The Bucks trailed 69-67 with 9:34 left in the fourth quarter. But a crafty backcourt steal by Mario Chalmers led to a Ray Allen three-pointer on an assist from LeBron James, and James fed Mario Chalmers for a three-pointer, giving the Heat a 75-67 lead with 8:25 remaining.
James led the Heat with 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Bosh and forward Udonis Haslem were solid for the Heat. Bosh had 10 points, five rebounds and … [For more on LeBron James, Heat sweep Bucks in playoffs' first round, click here.]