MIAMI (CBSMiami) – “We know we can play a better game.” Those words from Miami Heat superstar LeBron James should strike fear in every playoff opponent the Heat has this year.
James made those comments after playing a nearly perfect game against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs opening round. Miami plowed right through the Bucks on their way to a 110-87 thumping on Sunday night.
James put up an absurd stat line in the game. He scored 27 points on 9-11 shooting and pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out 8 assists in the game. It was a feat only matched once before in the last 26 years of NBA history.
“He’s in playoff mode,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said.
James had a look in his eyes throughout Game 1 that seemed to say that no matter what Milwaukee tried to do, the Heat were not going to be denied. LeBron even managed to cut down on his minutes in the game thanks to some stellar play from the Heat’s bench.
Ray Allen poured in 20 points and Chris Andersen chipped in with 10 points on 4-4 shooting and 7 rebounds. Shane Battier and Norris Cole combined for 11 points and five rebounds in the game. Wade only had 16 points and Chris Bosh dropped in 15 points and grabbed seven boards along with 2 blocked shots.
The talent gap between Miami and Milwaukee was on display in Game 1. Consider that Miami shot nearly 10 percent worse from 3-point land than they did in the regular season and turned the ball over 19 times in the game and still led by as many as 25 points in the late stages of the game.
Even Miami’s supposed major weakness, rebounding, turned into a strength. Miami outrebounded Milwaukee by a margin of 46-31 in Game 1.
“It’s a great way to start the series,” Bosh said. “They’re a feisty team over there. We wanted to make sure that we played good on defense and keep doing what we’ve been doing.”
James, who has in the past carried teams almost single-handedly, looks like he’s ready to make sure that if someone wants the NBA Championship; they will have to take it from him and this Miami Heat team.
“We love him in that mode,” Wade said. “The time away was good and now he’s focused on his goal and his goal is to dominate every game and help take this team to a championship.”
The unselfishness pervades all over the Heat team. From Ray Allen coming off the bench for the team, to LeBron being more than willing to pump up his teammates stats as he is to pump up his own stats. Consider, James had taken only 11 shots in a playoff game twice before, but Sunday still dominated Game 1.
“All I care about is the win,” James said. “I didn’t even know my stats. I just knew that we were playing efficient offensively besides the turnovers. We want to try to keep that going.”
The Bucks said coming into Game 1 that they would brace for Miami to come out flying, and the Heat more than delivered on that expectation.
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