NBA playoff schedule 2013, Heat vs. Bucks: Miami opens first round against stumbling Milwaukee

USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat open their 2013 NBA playoffs against the faltering Milwaukee Bucks.

The Milwaukee Bucks are stumbling through the end of the regular season, and it sets them up with what appears to be an insurmountable meeting in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat.

It's a wonder if Milwaukee has a chance. In four games against the Heat this year, the Bucks only pulled out one victory, a 104-85 win on Dec. 29. Since, the team mutually parted with coach Scott Skiles, sent young prospects to Orlando for J.J. Redick, and faltered under interim coach Jim Boylan down the stretch, losing five of their final six games of the regular season.

Miami, on the other hand, reeled off 27 straight games and rested up their starters while cruising to the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Likely MVP LeBron James is at the heart of the Heat's efficiency that puts in the second-most points per 100 possessions in the NBA. The Heat is the second-best three-point shooting team in the league and uses four-out lineups to spread the floor, thus opening the lane for drives or drive-and-kick plays.

If there were any advantage the Bucks would have against Miami, the matchups would be it. While their main scorers of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis can't score with the likes of James and Dwyane Wade, Milwaukee's role players up front might be able to control the paint.

Larry Sanders matchups up well as a shotblocker who is also capable of chasing Chris Bosh to contest long two-point jumpers. Ersan Ilyasova has come on of late, especially under Boylan, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute can try his hand at limiting James, and John Henson has shown flashes of big-game potential. Most importantly, the frontline of Milwaukee can crash the boards and score on second-chance points.

Additionally, Redick can help negate some of the Miami bench scoring production as well.

Milwaukee has the second-best turnover differential in the NBA of 1.8, second only to New York. With their pace being in the top-five in the league, they must continue to take care of the ball and selectively attack the Heat as to keep Miami's own attack only in the halfcourt.

Either way it's sliced, the money is on a never-more-efficient James and the defending champion Heat.

Game 1

Time: 7 p.m. ET Sun., April 21

TV, streaming info: TNT

Game 2

Time: 7:30 p.m. ET Tues., April 23

TV, streaming info: NBA TV

Game 3

Time: 7 p.m. ET Thurs., April 25

TV, streaming info: TNT

Game 4

Time: 3:30 p.m. ET Sun., April 28

TV, streaming info: ABC

Game 5 (TBD)

Time: TBD Tues., April 30

TV, streaming info: TBD

Game 6 (TBD)

Time: TBD Thurs., May 2

TV, streaming info: TBD

Game 7 (TBD)

Time: TBD Sat., May 4

TV, streaming info: TBD


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