MILWAUKEE - The Miami Heat have let the Milwaukee Bucks hang around until late in the third quarter in each of the last two games before putting the pedal down and sprinting to the finish.
The Bucks will need to withstand that closing kick if they hope to extend the series beyond Game 4 on Sunday.
The Heat are 13 victories away from back-to-back championships and have put up three convincing wins in the first three games against Milwaukee.
LeBron James has not approached the numbers he put up in Game 1 in either of the last two contests but has picked his spots to impact each game. He stayed on the floor with the second unit in the beginning of the fourth quarter of Game 2 to spark the decisive run and knocked down the 3-pointer late in the third quarter that got things rolling in Game 3.
The Bucks have had some success with Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders on the inside but guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings have not been able to find a rhythm offensively.
TV: 2:30 p.m., ABC
ABOUT THE HEAT: Miami has looked vulnerable at certain points in each of the first three games before snapping back into focus and running away. James turned in a dominant performance in Game 1 but has let the supporting cast handle most of the heavy lifting in the subsequent two games. That cast might have to expand and put in even more work in Game 4 with Dwyane Wade ailing. The All-Star guard missed time at the end of the regular season with a bruised knee and was limited in practice by the injury on Saturday. If he can't go Sunday, the Heat have plenty of other options at the starting off-guard spot. Ray Allen has averaged 16.7 points off the bench in the first three games of the series and Mike Miller was strong in place of Wade at the end of the season.
ABOUT THE BUCKS: Jennings said that Milwaukee would win the series in six games before the start of the playoffs. That optimistic prediction is now an impossibility, and restricted free-agent-to-be Jennings could be down to his final game in a Bucks' uniform. Jennings scored 26 points in Game 1 but has gone 8-for-30 from the floor in the last two contests, including 1-for-14 from 3-point range. Ilyasova and Sanders have been the most effective offensive performers in the last two games but have not been able to take control of the game in the fourth quarter while Miami has been pulling away. Ilyasova and Sanders averaged a combined 16.6 rebounds in the regular season but have not been able to help the Bucks gain an advantage on the glass in the series.
1. Miami F Chris Andersen has collected 31 points on 13-of-15 shooting in the first three games.
2. Allen broke Reggie Miller's record for career playoff 3-pointers in Game 3. He has 322 after knocking down five on Thursday.
3. Bucks F Mike Dunleavy has averaged 13.5 points off the bench in the last two games.
PREDICTION: Heat 102, Bucks 89
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