Allen and Andersen, the two players Miami added this season, were major factors Sunday.
“We have so many threats on the floor now,” James said. “It allows me to play without stress.”
This whole series buildup has been about manufactured drama in the absence of the genuine kind that comes from a closer matchup.
Much of that drama has come from Jennings, bless his heart, providing unintended levity to an otherwise perfunctory series that the Heat figures to cruise through in the minimum four games.
You could forgive Jennings predicting his Bucks would beat Miami in six. What was he supposed to say? Athletes are wired to be confident, or at least to fake confidence.
Sillier was Jennings claiming Miami was the team the Bucks wanted to play all along because they match up so well, inviting one to wonder how a team might match up so well with the reigning league champs and yet creak into the postseason after a regular-season record of 36-46.
Here, though, was the Jennings bon mot I found most amusing:
“All the pressure is on them,” he had said.
Seriously? Is that right?
A single hunk of red meat sits in the middle of an otherwise empty room. Two doors are simultaneously flung open and in run two equally hungry dogs, a pit bull and a poodle.
Is all the pressure on the pit bull? Really?
Or is all the pressure on the poodle to not be mistaken for the red meat?
TV analyst Charles Barkley was so desperate for some real drama that he flatly said he would “love” for Miami to lose Sunday “just to see them under the gun a little bit.” But he soon added, of the Bucks, “I don’t know if there’s a Mrs. Jennings, but she’s got her bags packed after Game 4. Even she doesn’t think they’ll win.”
The challenge of this postseason will ratchet up fast for Miami as its moves on in search of a repeat title, with the second round bringing Brooklyn or Chicago, and the nemesis New York Knicks looming beyond that. Until then, Milwaukee in the first round feels like a “soft opening “ for the Heat.
Even Jennings had to peel away that layer of bravado Sunday and admit, “Everybody is writing us off and saying we’re going to get swept.” All he could say of the Heat’s second-half dominance was, “We kind of didn’t have any answer for them.”
It is fun to hear the Heat camp show the requisite respect that it must for the opponent here, as when coach Erik Spoelstra said before Sunday’s opener, “Milwaukee is a little bit like us with their speed and quickness. They have a great knack for deflections.”
I might agree the Bucks are a little bit like the Heat if Miami had not won 30 more games this season and wasn’t a tour de force led by LeBron James.
As it is, about the only way the Bucks are little bit like the Heat is that both teams’ players wear sneakers.