It’s No. 3 Bucks vs. No. 6 Heat in first round of NBA playoffs

·2 min read

With the Miami Heat locked into the No. 6 Eastern Conference playoff seed earlier Sunday when the New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics in a matinee, the only question going into Sunday night for Erik Spoelstra’s team was who would be its first-round NBA playoff opponent at No. 3.

The Brooklyn Nets answered that question while the Heat were playing out their season finale in Detroit, pushing past the Cleveland Cavaliers. That locked the Nets into the No. 2 seed in the East and made the Milwaukee Bucks the No. 3 seed.

So Heat-Bucks it will be, starting next weekend, in the best-of-seven opening round of the NBA playoffs.

It will be a rematch of the Eastern Conference semifinal series the Heat won 4-1 last season on their way to the NBA Finals, a series when Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was limited by a severe ankle sprain.

It will be the Heat’s third-ever playoff series against the Bucks, with the Heat also defeating Milwaukee 4-0 in the 2013 first round, when the Heat featured their Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The Bucks went 2-1 against the Heat this season, including a 122-108 victory Saturday night at Fiserv Forum, but Heat forward Jimmy Butler missed all three of those games due to injury.

The Knicks clinched the No. 4 seed in the East, to host the Atlanta Hawks, who finished at No. 5, in the first round. The Nets, at No. 2, will play one of the teams that emerges from the Eastern Conference play-in round, as will the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.

The Eastern Conference play-in field includes the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers.