Brandon Jennings got what he wished for, but his Milwaukee Bucks teammates aren't sure why he wished for it in the first place.
In March, the Bucks' guard told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "If you ask me, that's who I would want to play first round, Miami." The Bucks went 1-3 against the Heat this season, but Jennings said at the time, "We matched up well against them."
This weekend, the Heat and Bucks open up their first round playoff series, with the defending-champion Heat holding the top seed in the playoffs.
On Tuesday, Jennings' teammates distanced themselves from his comments. "Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for," forward Mike Dunleavy told the Miami Herald.
"No one in the league sees the Heat as a favorable matchup. It’s a monumental task."
Point guard JJ Redick was more blunt. "I'm not sure why Brandon would say that," he said.
The Heat have played Milwaukee twice since Jennings' comments, winning both times. The most recent win, on April 9, did not feature a full-strength Heat squad. Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade sat out with injuries, and the Heat won 94-83.
But few people outside of Milwaukee give the Bucks any chance, and they themselves know why. "Their support players are All-Stars," Bucks coach Jim Boylan told the Herald.
"I don't see any weak spots," Dunleavy said. "They're even better this year. LeBron [James] is on a different planet. He's got complete control of the game whenever he wants it."
Not that the Bucks won't try to find any advantage they can. "When they go small, we can hurt them on the glass," forward Luc Mbah A Moute said. Dunleavy added, "Any team can spread them out and shoot threes."
Still, the Bucks have shaken off any notion that they have an advantage against the Heat. It takes a huge gap in talent for professional athletes to give themselves little to no chance of winning. That the Bucks are downplaying their chances this much, even if it is hopes of sapping the Heat's motivation, is not the kind of thing that happens very often.