To put it differently, the Bucks expected to triumph.
And the last four matches revealed exactly why.
The Bucks-Heat rematch was a mismatch, and Milwaukee became the first team to advance in this year's playoffs by beating Miami 120-103 on Saturday to finish a 4-0 first-round sweep. Brook Lopez scored 25 points, Bryn Forbes scored 22 and Giannis Antetokounmpo needed a triple-double -- 20 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists -- for Milwaukee.
"Obviously, it is a great moment for us and winning 4-0, beatingthe team that beat us last year, feels good," Antetokounmpo said. "But at the end of the day, we've got a long way to go."
Khris Middleton had 20, Bobby Portis 13 and Jrue Holiday 11 for Milwaukee, which outscored Miami by 24 in the second half.
Bam Adebayo scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for Miami, which got 18 points from Kendrick Nunn, 14 from Tyler Herro, 13 from Goran Dragic and a triple-double -- 12 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists -- from Jimmy Butler.
"We tip our hat to the Bucks' organization," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "They have been a fantastic team this past year and they improved . Whether we had been part of that advancement or not, it is irrelevant. They took their match together to some other degree. They beat us for a motive ."
The Heat became the second group in this playoff format to go from sweeping in the very first round annually to being trapped in the first round the next. The only other group to endure that was that the then-New Jersey Nets, who swept New York in 2004 and lost 4-0 to Miami in 2005.
After Milwaukee caught the first three games, history stated the result was inevitable. NBA teams using 3-0 series prospects are currently 141-0 all-time in these matchups, with these Bucks becoming the 88th of these groups to finish off issues with a sweep.
Their reward: a week , at least.
The third-seeded Bucks won't play until at least next Saturday. Their East semifinals show against second-seeded Brooklyn or even seventh-seeded Boston will begin on June 5 when the Nets advance in five matches; in any other scenario, the Bucks will play on June 7.
"It's the first round of the playoffs. I think there's must be humility, a humbleness, an attitude or a mindset to get better. We've advanced in the initial round. Whoever we play , we've got to have the similar focus, a similar advantage, willingness to perform with each other, play together, all the things that we simply did. Means nothing if we do not keep doing it moving forward."
Following a set of Milwaukee romps by a combined 63 points in Games 2 and 3, this one instantly took on a distinct sense.
The Heat -- who led 9-2 shortly after the start of Game 1 and had not enjoyed even that a lot of margin in the last 136 minutes and 8 seconds of basketball leading to the beginning of Game 4 -- got the early jump. A set of free throws by Duncan Robinson with 3:48 left in the opening quarter put Miami up 20-12, its largest lead of the series, and the Heat margin would eventually rise to up to 12 in the first half.
Yet there were signs that the Bucks needed to enjoy: Antetokounmpo was 1 for 7 with three fouls in the first half, Milwaukee had only two things off the initial seven Heat turnovers, despite all that, Miami's lead was merely 64-57 in the break.
And, sure enough, the third quarter was Milwaukee.
"We went out there and competed as hard as you can," Antetokounmpo said. "Obviously, they made it very tough for us but we kept our composure."
The Heat couldn't create anything; they took 8 to 24 in the quarter. Bobby Portis' 3-pointer late in the third put Milwaukee up by 12, and the guide has been 91-85 entering the fourth. Before long, the game was determined, and that, so was that the series.
"Just some missed shots here and there," Butler explained. "I believe they did a fantastic job. I think you just kind of leave it at that."
Bucks: Pat Connaughton began for Donte DiVincenzo, who will miss the remainder of the year with a torn tendon in his left ankle. ... Milwaukee went 6-1 against the Heat this year. In the past four seasons combined, the Bucks were 6-13 vs. Miami. ... Milwaukee is 12-1 in its last 13 first-round games. ... The Bucks are now assured of receiving at least $995,797 from the league's $20.8 million postseason pool.
Heat: Miami completed the season 40-36 complete, the 15th-best listing in the franchise's 33 seasons. ... It was the very first time that Andre Iguodala, a veteran of 33 playoff series, suffered a sweep. ... This is the third consecutive season that the team coming off an NBA Finals loss didn't win a postseason game. Cleveland missed the 2019 playoffs, Golden State missed the 2020 playoffs and this Heat team got trapped. ... Miami will receive $592,385 in the league's postseason pool.
It was the fifth sweep of a best-of-seven series in Bucks history, linking the 2019 first round (vs. Detroit), 1983 East semifinals (vs. Boston), 1974 Western Seminar (vs. Chicago) and 1971 NBA Finals (vs. Washington). Miami dropped a series 4-0 for only the second time, also falling from the 2007 first round vs. Chicago.
This was the very first series since 2014 in which Butler didn't have a minumum of one 20-point game. He shot 19 to get 64 in this matchup, by far the worst shooting series of his career.