The Heat will probably win this series. They will probably win it quite easily, and that's not necessarily a knock on the Bucks. The Heat are astronomically good. They are stardust, pure uncut basketball success.
LeBron James is the best player in the NBA by a few miles. and Chris Bosh would be the primary players on most teams, yet are relegated to second- and third-fiddle status, respectively, in Miami. We know as much having watched this this team go to the Finals in two straight seasons, winning one title.
And behind those three stars are a bevy of role players capable of executing their jobs at near-elite levels. Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller, and James Jones all have relatively little to do besides hit open shots created by collapsing defenses, something they are all relatively great at it. Chris Andersen is exactly the no-offense, oodles-of-defense center a team with three great scorers needs. Shane Battier won't let you score on him, and he'll camp out in the corner to drill threes until the world collapses.
This is a team capable of winning 27 games in a row, and then upon seeing that streak end, reeling off another 10 wins in 11 games with most of their star players sidelined. That's 37 wins in 39 games, and that is not particularly fair.
We aren't crowning this team because we love narrative, we're doing it because we are reasonable human beings and fans of honesty. To imply this team was anything but the top team in the NBA in the regular season would be blatantly false.
For all of the "The Bucks will win if..." banter you will find elsewhere over the next week, this series isn't about the Bucks. Of the 256 teams that have qualified for the postseason in the last 16 seasons, the 38-win Bucks finished with the fourth-worst record in that group. LeBron and the Heat picked up 71 percent of Milwaukee's total wins in a single (phenomenal) winning streak! The Bucks lost 14 of their final 20 games to limp into the playoffs. The Heat lost 16 games the entire year. Even the playoff series hip-hop theme song I wrote and recorded gave the Bucks no shot to win. But don't tune out just yet.
But the Bucks don't view this as a lose-lose scenario.
They've been a little bit nasty towards Miami this season in four matchups: the first game between the two went to overtime, with Milwaukee coming back from 18 points down thanks in large part to a brilliant bench performance by John Henson, who had 17 points and 18 boards. The Heat still won, but it wasn't a cake walk.
The next was actually a decisive Bucks victory, with Jennings' 25 points leading five scorers in double digits, while Miami's Big Three would be the only three Heat players to clear the 10-point threshold.
The Bucks would lose the final two games of their season series against Miami, but then again nobody really beat Miami towards the end of the season.
Can Milwaukee bug Miami again in the postseason? Perhaps. It wouldn't be shocking, or indicative of future playoff failure, if the Bucks win a game.
Larry Sanders could do some damage against non-elite Miami frontcourt players. Jennings and Monta Ellis could hypothetically both have good games on the same night, though it doesn't happen often. It might even happen twice.
But the term "moral victory" comes to mind. There's little hope for an actual series victory there, but the Bucks' first postseason trip in three years could make for an awesome evening to remember, especially as the series appears to be the last hurrah of the Jennings/Ellis tandem.