Heat open title defense with blistering of Bucks

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Heat open title defense with blistering of Bucks

MIAMI, Florida - LeBron James has never taken fewer shots in a playoff game than he did on Sunday night, which at first glance might seem like a good thing for the Milwaukee Bucks.

It was not.

James scored 27 points on 9 for 11 shooting - finishing two assists shy of a triple-double - while Ray Allen scored 20 off the bench and the defending champion Heat picked up where they left off in the NBA playoffs a year ago, never trailing on the way to beating the Bucks, 110-87, in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first-round series.

“All I care about is the win,” James said. “I didn't even know my stats. I just knew that we were playing efficient offensively besides the turnovers. We want to try to keep that going.”

Dwyane Wade scored 16, Chris Bosh added 15 and Chris Andersen finished with 10 on 4 for 4 shooting for the Heat, who opened their title defense by holding Milwaukee to 42 percent shooting and outrebounding the Bucks, 46-31.

Brandon Jennings scored 26 points and Monta Ellis had 22 for the Bucks, who have not won the opening game of a playoff series since May 2001.

Game 2 is Tuesday in Miami.

“We’ve got nothing to lose,” Jennings said. “Nobody should be scared or anything. Let’s just hoop.”

James had taken only 11 shots in a playoff game twice before, and his postseason per-game average entering Sunday was just under 21 tries. But with the way he controlled the game Sunday, he didn’t exactly need to shoot.

That’s probably not the best of signs for the Bucks.

“Obviously, incredibly efficient,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “When you have a game like that, what can you do?”

Milwaukee came into the series with Jennings predicting his team would oust the reigning champions in six games.

They’ll have to win four of five now for that to happen.

And with James playing like this, the odds would seem particularly slim. He had 10 rebounds and eight assists - both game-highs. His assist total was only six shy of what the Bucks managed, combined.

“That’s about as efficient as you can get,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Made that look easier than it was.”

AP

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