Analysis of most NBA playoff series involves genuine discussion on the topic of how each team might win. That's not really the case with the Miami Heat's first round series against the Milwaukee Bucks this year.
When the Heat win this series -- it's not really a question of "if" at this point -- the reason for why will be fairly simple: talent. Miami has three players significantly better than anything Milwaukee can throw out at any given moment.
With that said, a single contest isn't quite the same as a seven-game series. Over the course of the series, talent will surely win out and the Heat will ease their to victory. But over a single 48-minute span, funky things can happen, and that gives Milwaukee hope of winning at least one game, even if a series upset seems out of the question.
How could the Bucks steal this game? Here are three questions to break down this year's most lopsided series.
1. Can the Bucks compete on the boards?
The Heat dominate teams in nearly every way, but rebounding has been one of the few weak areas for the NBA's premier team. The team finished tied for 21st in rebounding rate this season, per NBA.com, behind lottery teams like the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, the Heat positively dominated the boards in Game 1 against Milwaukee, 46-31, and the Bucks can't let that trend continue if they want any chance of winning. Given Miami's great defense and prolific shooting, allowing the Heat extra opportunities makes victory nearly unattainable.
2. How can Milwaukee's bench get involved?
Miami used to be perceived as a team lacking depth, but the team's reserves have played a key role in the team's success all season. That was once again true in Game 1, as Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Chris Andersen all played extremely well to supplement the Heat's star players.
The Bucks could use a similarly strong performance from their bench in Game 2. The team's reserves combined to put up just 25 points on 40 percent shooting in the Game 1 loss, getting significantly outplayed by the Heat's backups, who scored 43 points on 48 percent shooting.
3. Could a Jennings/Monta scoring explosion be enough?
As much as the Bucks would benefit from better rebounding or more productive reserves, winning a game against Miami may ultimately come down to the team's high-scoring backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. If Milwaukee can get a little NBA2K-style thing going with them, things could actually get interesting.
For players like Jennings and Ellis, piling up points isn't an issue. It's doing so efficiently that causes issues, and over the course of the long season, that means inconsistency and volatility.
With that volatility comes the possibility for hot streaks, though, and that's where Milwaukee's best odds may lie. We've seen what these guys can do when things are going right -- if, somehow, they can put it together for a full 48 minutes, winning a game seems possible.