The Miami Heat cruised in its first game of the 2013 playoffs, a 110-87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in which Miami never trailed. But the Heat reacted to the game as if they are the team down 1-0 in the first-round series.
"We know we can play a better game," LeBron James said on Sunday. And that was after he scored 27 points on only 11 shots with 10 rebounds and 8 assists.
Sure the Heat won by 23 while shooting an efficient 56% from the field and holding Milwaukee to 42% shooting, but Miami also committed 19 turnovers and shot just 30% from three-point range (compared to a season average of 40%).
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra drove the point home with his Monday film session, which Dwyane Wade said felt like a post-loss session more than anything else.
"That's one thing Coach Spo does a great job of," Wade said. "He's always making sure that we move on and we move into the new moment. That moment has passed. That's one thing he's been very consistent at."
But Spoelstra was effusive in his praise for James, who was responsible for 5 turnovers but was otherwise perfect on Sunday. "We don't take his talent for granted because he does whatever it takes to help you win," Spoelstra said.
Miami had trouble shutting down Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings on Sunday. The two combined for 48 points, but they attempted nearly half of the Bucks' shots while making only 46% of those. If the Heat can keep their teammates in check (the rest of the Bucks scored only 39 points), they would be okay with another high-scoring night from Jennings and Ellis.
Cutting down on turnovers will also help. Miami gave up 5 more turnovers than their season average on Sunday, and Milwaukee turned those into 22 points.
"They're a feisty team over there," Bosh said Sunday.
But if James continue the play which will likely earn him his fourth MVP award later this postseason, the Heat like their chances.
"He's in playoff mode. We love him in that mode," Wade said. "The time away [when James was away from the team for the last week of the season due to personal reasons] 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 Heat are now 15 wins away from a second straight championship. They can reduce that number to 14 on Tuesday night. Game 2 tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET, with coverage on NBA TV and Sun Sports.