Before the first round playoff series between the eighth-seeded Bucks and the defending champion Heat got started, Brandon Jennings went on record as saying that his team would win the series in six games.
“I still said six,” Jennings told Craig Sager after Game 2. “So we’ll see what happens. Might take a little longer.”
In fairness to Jennings, what’s he supposed to say? That his team has no chance and is going to lay down to get willingly steamrolled for four straight games?
Milwaukee actually showed a lot of positive signs in Game 2, and those are the things they’ll need to build upon when the series shifts to Milwaukee Thursday night for Game 3.
The Bucks were within just three points after three quarters, before a 12-0 run from Miami to open the fourth put the game away. Milwaukee can’t afford those types of lapses, though the energy from Miami’s second unit, especially from Chris Andersen in this series, might be too difficult for the Bucks to match.
Regardless of how you view Jennings’ comments, he deserves credit for doing everything he can to back up his bold prediction. He leads the Bucks in scoring over the first two games of the series, although most of that damage was done during a stellar 18-point first half in Game 1; in Game 2, when Miami’s defense was focused on taking the ball out of the hands of both Jennings and Monta Ellis, he finished 3-15 from the field for just eight points.
Milwaukee got strong games offensively from Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders in Game 2, as well as from Mike Dunleavy off the bench in a game where Jennings and Ellis both finished in single digits scoring. Milwaukee needs to get its two leading scorers more involved in Game 3, continue to get production inside from its bigs, and avoid being on the wrong end of one of those monster Miami runs to have a chance at extending the series beyond four games.