Heat vs. Bucks: Winning Game 1 Means More Than You Think


The Miami Heat play Game 1 of the NBA playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks on May 22, 2021.

The Miami Heat take on the Milwaukee Bucks for the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, and the team able to win Game 1 on Saturday will immediately gain a huge advantage.

While winning the first matchup gives either the Heat or the Bucks a 1-0 lead, statistically, the team that wins Game 1 will the whole series. South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman tweeted out a series of sobering facts on May 22 that make the outcome of Game 1 way more important than usual, especially for Miami playing on the road.

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The first two games of the Heat vs. Bucks series will take place in Milwaukee at the Fiserv Forum. While every game is important during the playoffs, the following statistics reveal exactly why winning the first matchup is so important:

Game 1 winners won 11 of 15 playoff series last season.

Teams that win Game 1 of an NBA best-of-seven series go on to win the series 76.2% of the time (425-133).

Teams that win Game 1 of an NBA best-of-seven series at home go on to win the series 85.2% of the time (346-60).

Teams that win Game 1 of an NBA best-of-seven series on the road go on to win the series 52.0% of the time (79-73).

The Heat vs. Bucks Series Is Predicted to Go a Full 7 Games

Miami Heat v Milwaukee BucksMiami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks

GettyJrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks is defended by Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat during the second half of a game at Fiserv Forum on May 15, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

While it’s exciting that the Heat secured a No. 6 seed in the playoffs, successfully avoiding the dreaded stress of the play-in tournament, playing a full seven-game series against a division rival will not be a cakewalk.

Former Heat legend Chris Bosh said during his Get Up interview on May 18 to expect a fiercely competitive series between the Heat and the Bucks. “Look for every game to come down to the last possession.”

“I will say look for this series to go seven games,” Bosh said. “It’s going to be extremely competitive. The heat definitely have a lot of confidence coming into this series, especially with the success they’ve had against the Bucks last year, and this year, too.”

CBS Sports reporter Sam Quinn is also having trouble deciding who’s the favorite to win this series. Quinn reported on May 22, “Picking the Heat means picking history. Picking the Bucks means picking reality.”

“This is the Heat we’re talking about here,” Quinn continued. “They literally beat the Bucks last year. Even if this is what Milwaukee wanted, Miami now has the chance to beat them again this year. The Bucks took a risk by setting up this matchup. We’ll know shortly whether or not that risk paid off.”

Here’s the full playoff schedule for the Heat vs. Bucks series:

Game 1: Saturday, May 22 | 2 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN
Game 2: Monday, May 24, 7:30 p.m. ET | TV: TNT
Game 3: Thursday, May 27, 7:30 p.m. ET | TV: TNT
Game 4: Saturday, May 29, 1:30 p.m. ET | TV: TNT
Game 5: Tuesday, June 1 | TBD | TV: TBD (if necessary)
Game 6: Thursday, June 3 | TBD | TBD (if necessary)
Game 7: Friday, June 5 | TBD | TBD (if necessary)

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