Miami barely made the tournament last season and were eliminated in the first round by none other than the Bucks in a 4-0 sweep. Perhaps they took this personally and went into this game with revenge on their minds because it certainly seemed that way.
In their latest game, as well as their first game of the regular season, they put on a clinic against a team that many people had believed would be the team to beat this year. Yet the Heat won the game by 42 points even though they kind of put on the brakes in the 4th quarter.
Miami was a slight favorite coming into this game but I believe that a lot of this is actually determined by the amount of bets that are going into Vegas and even the professional gamblers seemed to think that it was a toss up as to who would emerge victorious. In fact, nearly 65% of all bets were actually on Milwaukee when the point spread of 2.5 points was factored in. All of those doubts were dashed when the heat absolutely trounced the Bucks in the first quarter ending it 40-17.
Things didn't get better in Q2 or really any of the rest of the game as the Bucks failed to score more points than the Heat in any quarter of the game. This is especially rare in the 4th quarter as most teams that enter the 4th quarter ahead by 36 points will generally give their stars a break and use this time to develop bench talent. I don't know if Milwaukee was just so demoralized at this point that they didn't even try to get back on top but it certainly seemed that way. Honestly, since a come from behind victory of such a magnitude is probably damn near impossible, it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't even trying.
3-pointers are low percentage shots for most players, but this is where Milwaukee truly crapped the bed, so to speak. This didn't stop the Bucks from trying like crazy though as they ended the game with a pathetic 12-42 from 3-point range. We can't just blame this failure on 3 point range shots though as they shot 38% in field goals as well. To make a horrible situation even worse, they managed to miss a full 10 free throws as well.
To be fair, Miami missed 11 free throws but this was mostly because of center Bam Adebayo who is looking as though he is trying to beat Shaquille O'Neil for worst free-throw shooter of all time.
So is Miami this good or is Milwaukee just this bad. I do know that if Milwaukee doesn't find some magic sauce soon they could be in for a long season
I'm sure there have been other instances where the guys who won the championship just a few months ago now appear to be terrible but to fall this much from grace, this quickly, without a huge change in lineup, has to be very rare. You need to keep in mind that there are only 30 teams in the NBA and to be 22nd in FG% is pretty dern bad for a team that recently won the big dance.
It could be interesting this Saturday to see what happens against the Spurs because both teams have been performing below hopes and expectations. I find it a bit strange that the Vegas lines currently have Milwaukee favored at -400 with an 8.5 point spread. Maybe Vegas knows something I don't know but my money would be on San Antonio in this matchup.