Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After letting the Milwaukee Bucks hang around for a few quarters in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Miami Heat finally hit the gas and took a 2-0 lead in the series with a 98-86 win.
The win sends the series back to Milwaukee with the Heat looking to close out the sweep in Games 3 and 4. The Heat won Tuesday night without having a single player score more than 21 points in the game.
“We held court,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We protected it for two games. We did what we’re supposed to do. And that’s it.”
In Game 2, Miami was leading 68-65 heading into the fourth quarter before the team reeled off 12 unanswered points to push the lead to 80-65 and the Heat never looked back. LeBron James had 19 points, Dwyane Wade had 21, and Chris Bosh, Shane Battier, and Chris Andersen all had 10 points in the victory.
But now the series heads back to Milwaukee where Dwyane Wade ruled the area in college. A banner still hangs in the Bucks’ home arena honoring Wade’s stand-out play while at Marquette University.
Milwaukee proved in Game 2 that they can hang with Miami, but the task at hand has gotten much tougher for the Bucks. LeBron and Wade have never lost a series in their career after taking a 2-0 lead, going a combined 18-0.
“It’s a series,” said Larry Sanders, who had a sore right ankle after a collision with Battier in the fourth quarter. “We made progress this game.”
Still, progress isn’t enough when playing the Heat. To beat Miami, a team has to not only withstand runs, but also close out a game. So far, Milwaukee hasn’t been able to do that this season.
For Wade, Milwaukee will always hold a special place for him, even if the Heat are poised to knock Milwaukee out of the playoffs on the Bucks’ home court.
“I went to Milwaukee with not a lot of expectations, and I came out of Milwaukee the fifth pick in the draft,” Wade said. “Milwaukee has been special to me. It has helped me get to this point. Going back there in the playoffs is a cool thing.”
Miami’s 2-0 start to the series is the 11th time the Heat have gone up 2-0 in a playoff series. They’re 10-0 in the previous instances. On the other hand, Milwaukee has lost 21 of its last 29 playoff games.
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