Playoffs: Scouting Bucks-Heat

Is there anything the Milwaukee Bucks can do to stop LeBron James? Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images

Insider offers a breakdown of every playoff series using an expert combination of scouting from Amin Elhassan and advanced metrics from Bradford Doolittle to answer three crucial questions. Also included are predictions from the writers and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.

How's that for an encore? LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Miami Heat followed up its title run by setting a franchise record for wins, while James positioned himself for MVP award No. 4.

They'll open the playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks, the only sub-.500 team in the bracket. Milwaukee struggled down the stretch after dealing for sharpshooter J.J. Redick, presumably Milwaukee's great hope for lasting five games in the postseason rather than four. Does Milwaukee general manager John Hammond know something the rest of us don't? We'll find out.

Calling the Bucks-Heat matchup the latest sports version of David versus Goliath seems like an understatement. Maybe that label works if David has a torn labrum in his slinging shoulder, or if he leaves all his stones in his other rock bag. Still, just because Milwaukee seems like a hopeless underdog, there's still plenty of reasons to watch.

Matchup: Milwaukee Bucks (8) at Miami Heat (1)

Eastern Conference Playoffs

First Round Preview