MIAMI -- LeBron James has never taken fewer shots in a playoff game than he did on Sunday night, which at first glance might seem like a good thing for the Milwaukee Bucks.
It was not.
James scored 27 points on 9 for 11 shooting -- finishing two assists shy of a triple-double -- while Ray Allen scored 20 off the bench and the defending champion Heat picked up where they left off in the NBA playoffs a year ago, never trailing on the way to beating the Bucks 110-87 in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference first-round series.
Dwyane Wade scored 16, Chris Bosh added 15 and Chris Andersen finished with 10 on 4 for 4 shooting for the Heat, who opened their title defense by holding Milwaukee to 42 percent shooting and outrebounding the Bucks 46-31.
Brandon Jennings scored 26 points and Monta Ellis added 22 for the Bucks, who have not won the opening game of a playoff series since May 2001.
Game 2 is Tuesday in Miami.
James had taken only 11 shots in a playoff game twice before, and his postseason per-game average entering Sunday was just under 21 tries. But with the way he controlled the game Sunday, he didn’t exactly need to shoot.
That’s probably not the best of signs for the Bucks, who came into the series with Jennings predicting his team would oust the reigning champions in six games.
They’ll have to win four of five now for that to happen, and with James playing like this, the odds would seem slim. He had 10 rebounds and eight assists -- both game-highs. His assist total was only six shy of what the Bucks managed, combined.
The Bucks said coming into Game 1 that they would brace for Miami to come out flying, and the Heat more than delivered on that expectation. Miami scored on its first five possessions and after back-to-back scores at the rim by James -- the first of those a vicious one-handed slam after Wade set him up on a 3-on-1 break -- the Heat were up 21-8 early.
Milwaukee settled down quickly, getting within 26-24 at the end of the first, with Jennings scoring 10 in the period. And the Bucks hung around for the remainder of the first half, with the Miami lead just 52-45 going into intermission.