MILWAUKEE — A lot has been made about the Miami Heat’s ability to flip a switch after letting an opponent hang around.
The Heat have needed two big second-half runs to pull away from the Milwaukee Bucks in the first two games of their first-round playoff series, eventually overwhelming the underdog Bucks with a burst of energy mixed with talent that’s hard to match.
For Game 3 on Thursday night, Miami doesn’t want to have to “flip the switch” and instead hopes to bury the Bucks much earlier.
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“I don’t like that word switch,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I don’t want us to have to take that for granted or put ourselves in trouble and now you are waiting for that switch to turn it on. That’s a dangerous habit to get into. Now, when you need it, our team has shown an ability to go on 8-0, 10-3 skirmishes, you want to have ability to create separation, but you don’t want to wait and wait and wait. Ideally we would impose our will a little bit earlier.”
Led by Chris Andersen, Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Norris Cole, Miami’s bench has dominated the Bucks and has proven to be the difference in the game-changing runs.
“They come in with a great sense of urgency and they’ve been sparking us with that sense of urgency,” Spoelstra said. “What we want is a more consistent 48 minutes and not have to bank on the explosive burst they’ve given us in the first two games. We can be better throughout the course of the game with more consistency, our effort and attention to detail.”
Spoelstra’s thoughts were echoed by Heat forward Chris Bosh, who believes talking about “flipping the switch” could make it seem like Miami isn’t taking the Bucks seriously, when in fact the Heat just have to play better.
“We don’t like it either,” Bosh said. “It’s as if we are playing with the game. We don’t want to play with the game at all. We want to come out and we want to give a lot of energy and play the right way. It can seem at times that we just flip a switch. Sometimes the runs happen like that. Today we can’t have people with that mindset thinking, ‘Oh, they just flipped a switch today.’ That switch is going to have to be on the entire game.
“We have to make sure we bring the necessary intensity and just play better. We didn’t play very well in Game 2 and we have a lot of room to get a lot better for tonight. We are going to have to get a lot better (Thursday night).”
With the series shifting to the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, the Heat are well aware the Bucks are going to have a burst of energy at the beginning of the game and expect to face a desperate team.
Milwaukee knows it can’t go down 3-0 in the series and will likely hit Miami with its best shot in Game 3. As a veteran playoff team, the Heat realize a win Thursday will likely be a knockout punch.
“There’s nothing wrong with us coming in desperate,” Spoelstra said. “Our guys have been through a lot of playoff series to understand that nothing starts in a series until you win on an opponent’s floor. We haven’t done anything yet. We’ve done what we were supposed to do. This will be a competitive game, this will be a physical game and we know they will play with a lot of confidence and energy in front of their home fans. We have to play better than we did last game, most likely.”