First Sweep Done, Miami Faces Layoff — And Elusive Fo’, Fo’, Fo’, Fo’

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MILWAUKEE
– Gone swiftly and, let’s be honest, dismissed for all practical purposes weeks ago as they settled into the unenviable No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks might have done a major solid for the rest of the NBA’s playoff teams.

They put the red meat of a series sweep in front of the defending champions, and the Heat pounced like Dobermans on a Milwaukee kielbasa.

Another micro-goal accomplished, within the macro-framework of a second consecutive championship. Maybe that makes it easier for the next guys to eke out a victory or two.

“That was our next big step, seeing how we can continue to improve,” LeBron James said after Miami dispatched the Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Game 4, 88-77. It was the closest of the four – the margins were 23, 12, 13 and 11 – though it wasn’t really close at all. The Bucks never led Sunday and, even when they missed repeated shots in the third quarter that could have tied or put them in front, it was as if a “Why bother?” alarm went off in their heads as they released the ball. At some point, James and the Heat were going to stand on the gas, asserting their No. 1 seed superiority in all its glory.

“It’s so hard to win on the road in the playoffs, in someone’s building, especially when someone’s playing for their last life,” the NBA’s presumptive 2013 Most Valuable Player said after hanging 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists on the Bucks, while buying Dwyane Wade‘s bruised right knee another day off.

“It’s a big step for us to close this out. It’s the first time, I guess, in the ‘Big 3′ era we’ve had a sweep. So as a team, we like what we was able to accomplish in this series, Now we sit around, wait around to see who our next opponent is.”

Boy, do they. The soonest Miami could play again would be Saturday and that’s if the Brooklyn Nets-Chicago Bulls series cooperates swiftly. The flip side of finally sweeping – after two five-game series in 2012 and three in 2011 – is that the Heat will have at least five days before they play along.

It is the longest layoff of this group’s three postseasons. A year ago, they had three, three and two days between series. In 2011, it was three, three and four.

Anything you read or hear about the dangers of dreaded rust in the coming days likely will be overblown and media-driven. Seriously, would you rather have time off to prepare, refresh and lock in or would you prefer to rush immediately into your next best-of-seven? Still, there is a practical side to navigating the between-series days that makes it at least the little brother of navigating the challenges of the series themselves.

“The biggest focus for us will be keeping ourselves physically ready,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s probably the most abnormal thing of the circumstances. You’re used to playing every 48 hours or so, that’s the NBA rhythm when you get into the playoffs. Mentally, I’m not as concerned about our guys gritting their teeth. It’s too far ahead.

“We don’t even know how long this time will be but we have to make sure we strike a balance between our conditioning, staying fit, working at our game, getting after it with pads in practice, and always making sure guys are healthy and we’re not doing too much.”

For starters, the Heat planned to take Monday and Tuesday off. After that, depending on the Nets-Bulls series, they’ll start aiming for a second round that starts over the weekend. Or into next week.

“Nothing can replicate the edge of a playoff series,” forward Shane Battier said. “You can practice for four hours but it’s not like a playoff series. You still have to get up and down, you still have to bang, you still have to keep the mojo going someway.”

Never mind any macho appeal of flexing in full and sweeping a postseason opponent. The fewer games a team can play en route to a title, the less its players are exposed to the sort of mishaps and shutdowns we’re already seeing. Sure, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook got hurt in Game 2 against Houston and Derrick Rose went down in Chicago’s playoff opener last year. But bad stuff can happen in Games 5, 6 or 7, too, and if that’s the result of poor concentration and letting a lesser opponent hang around, then it becomes ripe for second-guessing.

“Injuries are part of it,” Battier said. “They seem to get more freakish every year. So yeah, of course we would like to end series more quickly so we can rest up a little bit and prevent ourselves from unnecessary injuries. But you can’t play this game with kid gloves on.”

There’s no shame, he said, in ducking “pivotal” or even “ultimate” games late in a best-of-seven series by pounding someone four straight. “It’s hard enough to win one playoff game,” Battier said. “The amount of preparation and energy and focus and everything that goes into winning one playoff game – I don’t care if it’s at home or on the road – takes a lot.”

Hmm. So following the logic and self-preservation aspects of it, rather than implying anything cocky or bombastic, might the Miami Heat – winners of 27 in a row in the regular season – have their eyes on 16 in a row in the playoffs? Or as Moses Malone might say, fo’, fo’, fo’ fo‘?

“Oh Lord,” Battier said. “I’m going to go home, enjoy my kids for a few days and then get ready for a physical, physical battle against the Nets or the Bulls. That’s not even on our minds.”

But James didn’t entirely reject the concept. He just didn’t quite fully engage it.

“I think 16 is automatic [as a motivator],” he said. “Sixteen in a row, I’m not even going to look at that. For me, 16 is the ultimate goal. But No. 5 is what we want to get next. That would be Game 1 of the next round.

“So that’s the way we’ll approach it. We’ll take each step as its own and hopefully, if we’re fortunate enough, we can continue to climb the ladder.”

Yeah, but in as few rungs as possible.

79 Comments

  1. It seems like the Heat are determined to end the playoffs without losing any game. Thanks for posting.

  2. smokemupjake says:

    Why is it that the Knicks are automatic for the ECF….this fan believes the Pacers will face Heat!!

  3. g0ing 16-o is not the play off is all about..its the ring…and miami gonna add 1.

  4. Dennis - Bulls Fan says:

    I still dont get why MVP is lebron.. Like honestly if he wasnt on the team.. they would still in it all.

    Boozer, Durant, Marc Gasol, Parker.. these are people that have a team that they carry with their individual skill. Lebron doesnt even have to do anything to win, and when he does, hes always one on one. Anyone in the NBA can take someone one on one – they are all that good.

    Sorry but to me, MVP is someone where the team would crumble without them playing, this aint LBJ.

    • HeatlesWinAgain says:

      Dennis, Seriously…? Lebron makes EVERYONE on the team better! IF you’ve ever watched an entire Heat game (besides the streak buster, Mr. Bulls Fan), you’d never have hit “Submit” with such a ridiculous comment!!

      I mean who else in the league is a triple-double waiting to happen EVERY night?!? Who ELSE can score about 30 taking just 11 shots…GET REAL

      • Nobody makes each teammate shine like Lebron! He gets everyone into the game. Watching the Heat play is like watching a chorographed ballet. Dennis, I find it hard to believe you’ve watched a full Heat game and could have arrived at his opinion. Unless your just a hater vs. a basketball lover!

  5. Josh says:

    The heat beat the knicks last year and there going to beat them this year. New York does not have the depth that Miami has on there team. Carmelo is a great shooter but he will be overwhelmed by the heats defense. Lebron james is already too much for the knicks to handle plus when you throw in Bosh,wade, and and all their 3 point shooters it is obvious to see who will come out on top.

  6. Fernando says:

    @Huge Heat Fan….Bandwagoner!!!!

  7. Fernando says:

    Everyone here tends to forget there are teams in the WEST that will have something to say about the Heat winning another championship! THE EAST IS WEAK!!!! They need to get to the Finals before anyone here can talk trash! They have 1 championship under their belt, and you guys act like they have several. Heat will get stomped on by the West!!!!!

  8. Bottom line. The Heat are the deepest team that the NBA has seen in decades. Deal with it!

  9. ThunderUP says:

    AND they will probley win like 5 championships in a row

    • tsiko says:

      This will happen if, i say it again, IF that trio will stay together for 4 more years. Which I doubt

  10. ThunderUP says:

    27 wins in row second most all time would that make them at least top threee teams ever put together you have to respect that..MIAMI wins this year even thought thats the last team i want to win.OKC and if not them STEPh CURRY AND the warriors

  11. ene be a says:

    Miamo heat 2012-2020 nba champion, ho ho ho hoooo…lebron james is the fo fo fo fourt time mvp.

  12. mr. mj to you says:

    Seriously. Do so few people realize the Heat will likely have to play the Bulls? 16 straight? They’ll be fortunate if they can win the series in 7. Please recall the spanking the Bullies put on their streak. On any given day, the Bulls can almost dominate this great Heat team. If the Bulls happen to put a couple of those games together on the road? We’re talking upset. And the Bulls have owned the Knicks all season. After this first round, no one can look past anyone. But I’d love it if the Heat tries to. They can start preparing for Carmelo…while the Bulls take them in 6.

    • really???? says:

      plz don’t tell me your actually thinking that bulls will win against the heat in 7 game series based off one win against them besides the fact that they won 27 in a row which Chicago cant never do and I mean ever so I don’t see the chances, I can see a good series between them but please don’t give in to high hopes look at Brandon Jennings and I think you will understand what I mean

    • shhh says:

      “Please recall the spanking the Bullies put on their streak.” – I believe this will be the reason why the Bulls will go down. It will be a big motivation for payback.

  13. LOLakers says:

    16-0 easy!!! Miami is the greatest team of all time!!! The Bulls***s have no chance!!! Even their FAKE MVP Derpderp Blows is too afraid of getting humiliated to ever play basketball again!!!! LOL!!!! And Carlos Loozer will go back to Puerto Rico and cry to his momma!!!!! LOL!!! The Pacemakers and Pricks don’t stand a chance either against the Heat steam train!!! HEAT 10-PEAT!!!!

  14. raul says:

    why is everyone counting on mia vs nyk in the elf????/ the knicks have to get past the pacers……. either way miami is going to cream either of those teams, might not be a sweep but miami will win and go on to face whoever from the west and win that too for the repeat.

  15. Dylan says:

    Lebron can guard melo, but melo cannot guard lebron. you know it.

  16. haha..!! says:

    Baller, The question is, who will guard LBJ, Melo has little to no defense at all..

    LBJ or Dwade can lock Melo.

  17. Jay says:

    I really dont want a sweep itz no fun. I love the heat but i want a great game a battle of the ages. I wanna see them play a game 7 with knicks :)

  18. Steve says:

    Whoever comes up with allthe Heat hype… give me a break! Long wait??? When…It will be over tonight! Go Bulls!!

  19. Gillsy says:

    I think James v Melo match up will be better than James v Durant if it happens. However, the team from the west that has me intrigued is the Warrors, I know they don’t have Lee but they have played without Bogurt for most of the season so it probably balances out and playing 3 guards have played well.

  20. Baller says:

    Hey what do you guys think about a potential NYK-MIA conference final match up? Any predictions? And who do you guys think should guard Melo if the two teams meet up?

  21. Gillsy says:

    I think they need to get Wade fit before they think about 16.

  22. VonParoni says:

    Bulls and Knicks will be the hard fought battles. Bulls games will be VERY physical and NY is a very good team that has been the best at winning against the Heat. I still think it is going to be Heat all the way but these series will be tough. Dont think we will see any sweeps in those series and expecting them to go to 6-7 games.

  23. isaac says:

    i don’t know what it is but it’s something about a winning streak in the playoffs that’s so cool.

  24. Heatsonfire says:

    just remember that a few years ago on the first round they only played 5 games tops, so it was posible to had a 15-1 record

  25. David says:

    Does anybody really think that the Heat are going to blow right by the Bulls, Golden State, Memphis , San Antonio or OKC? Are you kidding?! Miami is a well-oiled team , but they’re NOT going to cruise this year. The other teams have great coaches and great communication among their players. Not so fast Miami fans!!

    • dattebayo says:

      Do you really expect to see either Memphis or Golden State in the Finals? Are you kidding?

      But yeah, the Heat will not cruise by the Bulls, Pacers or Knicks, but I don’t see those teams winning more than 2 games against the Heat in a 7 game series…

    • jose says:

      We did 27 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      So , 12 is less than the half of the whole thing

  26. gerald29 says:

    where is brandon jennings?????think first before you speak man..

  27. RocketsThunderFan says:

    Is anyone surprised that the Heat swept the Bucks? No! Bucks don’t even have a winning regular season record like the Rockets.

  28. Saeed says:

    If it happens that the Heat face the Nets, then they can go for fo, fo, waiting to see what they can do with the knicks. but if Bulls come, then the Heat, the whole company, need an ultra-humanistic locked-in series by themselves to extend the fo, to fo, fo.

  29. Art says:

    Heat can easy go 16:0. They have the best lineup in history: James + Wade+ 3 referees.

  30. bjim says:

    haha well said jdoin, nailed it. Lebron does more commerical that are so fake, he needs to learn how to Act like he care or just dont bother imo…

    • jose says:

      He got not time for kicking your team As. and doing too many comercials.It takes time,haters…….it takes time
      Besides , we are arrogants and we do not care wether you like those ill-prepared commercials or not
      Remember , we are the champs and we are arrogants
      You are a bunch of cry babies

  31. bloctoad says:

    Milwaukee was gifted a playoff berth with an abysmal losing record. This series was a meaningless as the myriad of bowl games of mediocrity we’ve been forced to endure.

  32. Jdoin says:

    the amount of arrogance from Miami is overwhelming, not to mention how fake lebron, wade, and ray what ever his name is…

    • jose says:

      Yes we are ……and it is well gained , and well deserved……….
      .and His name id Ray Allen….the most respected shooter in the history of NBA
      Where are you from?
      Remember : Ray Allen

      and ,Yes, we are arrogants!!!period.

    • And why do you say that Miami is an arrogant team? They all professionals and they’ve worked hard to get to where they are now. They also give to the community. What you see as arrogance are the confidence and determination to win.

    • i dont see it unless its a personal tmz vendetta says:

      dude get a grip of yourself , this is basketball not some soap opera, GET OUT OF HERE =)

  33. Chris says:

    I don’t see them sweeping the bulls, probably a 5 game series. Heat still won’t really have much to worry about until the ECF. Even then I’m not sure if I believe in NY. Sure they look good on paper but I think the heat have better consistency which will do NY in.

  34. Look out for the bleh bleh bleh says:

    Knicks would take out the Heat though in the Conference Final. They are better than the Heat this year. 3-1 regular season record and with Melo dropping 50 pts on Miami’s home floor! As good as the Heat is, they no match for the Knicks – who can apparently shoot the lights out of any arena.

    • Jay says:

      Melo dropped 50 pts without Lebron. The Heat will beat the Knicks in 5. They lost in the beginning of the season when they were not as focused. Their win came in the midst of the 27 game win streak. They only lost 3 games in the last 5 months? So the odds are better for Miami.

    • huwat says:

      ahahaha, game 1 was charity b’coz of the hurricane, game heat really lost, gam 3 knicks reallx lost, game 4 with no james wade chalmers… Feed your brain please..

      • My_City says:

        Really?? I thought the Knicks put it on the Heat without Melo too! There are no excuses for wins or losses, what would Chicago say about missing Derrick Rose? Or should the Lakers despise the Spurs coz most players were injured including KB24..

        Use your brain sometimes.

    • it takes a team not a shooter to win says:

      please people this is playoffs, not some season game. Like take some of your time to ACTUALLY think bout it , Miami has a team , they have shooters, blockers, play makers and of course LeBron , Knicks only have chandler and HOGmelo , you can’t expect melo to make all the shots especially when spolstra while have his def all over his range . its pretty simple stop melo and knicks are done. Now if you stop LeBron (which not many can do) you still have wade, bosh, ray allen, battier, hell even birdman is steppin for crying out loud ahahahahahahahahaha

      • Big Mike says:

        yeah but Miami also has a problem…a big one…they have no true center and New York’s center just won defensive player of the year. but let’s not jump ahead of ourself. Miami has to play that team that stopped their consecutive win record…I believe it was the Chicago Bulls minus Derrick Rose right?

      • Sintido kumon says:

        That’s why melo should be MVP,you said it….stop melo the kincks are done,stop LBJ and Miami is too deep for any team…just sayin

  35. MC says:

    Although the Sixers did win a championship with only one loss in 1983, they didn’t need to get to 16 wins to win it all – they played less games in the playoffs then. The closest to ever sweep a postseason was the 2001 Lakers, whose only lost came in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Allen Iverson lead Sixers.

  36. Heat # Fan says:

    i think Jennings thought easy to win MIA but playoffs is not easy this is the turning point for Jennings..

    • neitel says:

      Now he has to go home and re-think his life. lol…he didn’t inspire his team, he sets them up, just like Ron Artest did to the Lakers…Ron said the Lakers would win 73-9. Look at the Lakers tho, they barely made the playoffs and got swept by the spurs. Im laughing, sitting in my couch watching this drama. Its best to stay quiet, be humble and play basketball ’till you drop, without doing all this yada yada blah blah blah…that doesn’t get you nowhere. Bulls and Nets is as good as it gets!

  37. love says:

    that was a good series

  38. Haet says:

    Lets go heat!
    We too raw for anybody!

  39. k-DOG says:

    NOPE.. 15-1 LAKERS I THINK 2001 OR 2002

    • dhk says:

      16-1. If they only won 15 games they wouldn’t have won the championship.

    • Feivel says:

      The 15 – 1 Lakers still weren’t the best playoff team and neither will this years Heat. The 95 – 96 Chicago playoff team almost swept all the way through the playoffs before dropping 2 in a row to Seattle, if memory serves correct. However, on that Seattle team, there were the likes of Sean Kemp, Gary Payton, Detlef, Nate McMillan & a slew of great ‘glue guys’.

      This year’s Heat nor the 15 – 1 Lakers team could have beaten the Jazz, Bulls, Rockets or Sonics of that era in a best of 7 series. Of course, this a different generation, but since we want to compare. Generations following that era got ‘soft’ and the rulebook ‘thickened’. Players are pampered compared to what Jordan and others had to deal with defensively, cheap shots and all.

      95 – 96 to 97 – 98 Bulls > Any other team except maybe the 1960s Celtics. If Jordan hadn’t retired the first & second times, they could have won every Finals during the decade from 91 to 00, hands down. Can anyone point any other team, past or present that could have done that over an entire decade besides the 1960s Celtics? NOO?!?? My point is well taken.

      • Trevor says:

        did you seriously just say Michael Jordan had it hard against opposing defences? I honestly thought that was a joke at first. The Bulls of the 90’s would not have won every title, in fact they wouldn’t have even 3-peated if it wasnt for David Stern. Michael Jordan is one of the greatest closers in the history of the game, no doubt, but he also got the flukiest calls in the history of the game. The Bulls continuously won because Stern knew it was good for the game if MJ won. Not to mention to say this years Heat wouldnt win a best of 7 series against the Jazz, Rockets and Sonics of that era is ridiculous.

  40. wooderson says:

    i dont get the fo’ fo’ fo’ fo’ bit?

    • Chris B says:

      Fo’ Fo’ Fo’ Fo’ means winning four (fo’) in the first round without a loss then winning four (fo’) in the second round without a loss and four (fo’) in the conf finals without a loss then four (fo’ ) in the finals without a loss. Hence Fo’ Fo’ Fo’ Fo’

    • neitel says:

      It means winning 4 games straight, all throughout the playoffs. 4 in 1st Round, 4 in 2nd Round, 4 on the Eastern/Western Conference Finals, 4 in the Finals (Four, Four, Four, Four), but because Moses Malone is Afro American and he thought he had swag back in those old years, he changed the whole bang to just (Fo’ Fo’ Fo’ Fo’). I know, lame….but, that sums it up.

  41. Heat #1 Fan says:

    Has any team won an NBA championship by going 16-0?

  42. W/E says:

    LA and the BUcks got OWNED SO HARD, the weakest teams of the league got knocked out without really giving a fight, both teams total failures,they , first round was so easy for Miami and the Spurs its unfair for the other competitors lol.