The Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat are set to meet in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs in what will be a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals when the Heat bested the Bucks in five games to advance to the NBA Finals. The Heat will be looking to pull off a repeat performance, while the Bucks will obviously be hoping for a different outcome. 



It's not an ideal first round matchup for either team, as the Bucks would probably rather face off against a less talented and experienced team to kick off what they hope will be a deep playoff run, while the Heat likely would have finished higher in the standings in the East if they weren't hampered by injury and COVID-related issues early on in the season. But, that's the way the cookie crumbles, as they say, and now the two teams will have to face each other in the first round. One will win and advance to the second round, and the other team will head home, disappointed. 





Prediction


All the pressure is on the Bucks here, and after having a year to ruminate on their loss to the Heat, you'd have to think that they'll come out focused and ready to send a message in Game 1. When the two teams played in the bubble, Jrue Holiday wasn't in Milwaukee, but now he is, and he could be an x-factor in Game 1 and the series as a whole. Pick: Bucks -4.5 



(3) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (6) Miami Heat
Date: Saturday, May 22 | Time: 2 p.m. ET
Location: Fiserv Forum -- Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
TV: ESPN | Live stream: WatchESPN
Odds: MIA +185; MIL -215; O/U 226.5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)  



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