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Heat-Bucks: Game 3 Preview

What to watch for when the Miami Heat's first-round playoff series switches to Milwaukee for Game 3

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat face the Milwaukee Bucks on the road for Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

    Two games into the playoffs, the Miami Heat look very much like the juggernaut that finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA. Wins by 23 and 12 points over the Milwaukee Bucks have given the Heat a 2-0 series lead, but they are not relaxing ahead of Game 3 in Milwaukee.

    "We haven't done anything yet," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday. "We did what we're supposed to do. We held home court. Playoffs don't start until either team wins on the other court. And this will be a desperate, competitive response from them, trying to defend their home court. And we have to find a way to steal one, go in there and take control of the series.

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    Spoelstra spoke as if Miami was tied with the Bucks, not ahead by two games. "There's nothing wrong with us coming in there with an incredible amount of desperation as well," he added. "Our guys have experience to know what we'll be facing. It'll be a tough environment. And that's why we're bracing ourselves for this competition tomorrow night."

    While the Heat have won handily in both of the series' first two games, there are warning signs that all may not be as well as it appears. Miami has had trouble with turnovers, giving up 19 on Sunday then 14 Tuesday.

    The Heat has struggled shooting from three-point range, making 31% of shots from beyond the arc (compared to 40% during the regular season). Miami also saw a sharp drop-off in offensive efficiency from Game 1 to Game 2 (shooting 56% from the field on Sunday, then 45% on Tuesday).

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    Still, no one denies that the Heat have the Bucks right where they want them: reeling after two straight losses in Miami. Stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have combined for 83 points during the series on 55% shooting, adding 28 assists.

    A 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter on Tuesday and a 7-0 run to close the third quarter Sunday pushed the Bucks out of reach, and the Heat want to continue the aggressive play that leads to those runs on Thursday.

    We're always proactive trying to look for those spurts and those runs," Chris Bosh said Wednesday.

    After leaving Game 2 to get stitches on his chin, Shane Battier is expected back for Game 3. He collided with Larry Sanders, who will return as well on Thursday.

    Game 3 tips off at 7:00 p.m. ET, with coverage on TNT and Sun Sports.

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