Miami cruised past its first-round opponent for the third straight time on April 25, absorbing what was clearly the Bucks' best effort in the first quarter and casually dispatching them over the balance of the game. The Heat notched a 3-0 series lead with their 104-91 win.
Beating an overmatched Bucks team is hardly historic, but much of what the Heat have done this year has been.
After stringing together the second-longest winning streak in NBA history during the regular season, the Heat have continued to do battle with the record books during the playoffs. But let's back up a bit before getting to some of Miami's more recent history-making efforts.
For starters, nobody had ever put together a season-ending stretch on the road like the Heat did this past year:
Tony Fiorentino @TonyHEATWC3x
The HEAT won 18 of last 19 road Gs, the best streak on the road to end a season in the 67 yr history of the NBA. @Milw 2nite on SunSports...4/25/2013, 7:18:34 PM
Going further back, March was also a historically good month for Miami—and not just because of the beginning of spring break:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
The Heat went 17-1 in March, becoming the first team to win 17 games in a single calendar month in NBA history.4/1/2013, 2:08:09 AM
Much of Miami's dominance is attributable to James' superhuman season. Full coverage of his record-smashing campaign would take a handful of books to chronicle, but a couple of big ones stand out:
BREAKING: LeBron James just became the youngest player in NBA history to score 20,000 career points. #LeBron20K1/17/2013, 4:36:32 AM
Tommy Beer @TommyBeer
LeBron is the the 1st player in NBA history to score 2,000+ points in 8 different seasons prior to his 30th birthday. (He broke MJ's record)4/13/2013, 2:17:50 PM
With a brilliant performance from James all year, the late surge both during and after their 27-game streak and three easy playoff wins, it's no surprise that the Heat have amassed a remarkable 42-game stretch that has put them in rare air:
Chris Tomasson @christomasson
#Heat are on a 40-2 run, the greatest stretch around that length of games in NBA history. Only 2 even approach it: http://t.co/5ablFl8Vdu4/26/2013, 2:17:27 AM
Admittedly, that's a somewhat obscure stat with an arbitrary cutoff. But hey, the Heat crush their opponents with an efficiency that has recently bordered on boring. Would you rather read about how the Bucks can't seem to straighten out their defensive rotations to deny Ray Allen wide-open corner threes?
Didn't think so.
However, that particular area of Milwaukee's ineptitude does lead into yet another record in the Heat's 2012-13 yearbook. Allen set an NBA playoff record of his own in Game 3:
Brian Windhorst @WindhorstESPN
Ray Allen just passed Reggie Miller for most 3-pointers in playoff history with 321. Heat on way to 3-0 series lead on Bucks.4/26/2013, 1:18:31 AM
You'll note how ridiculously open Allen gets in the corner on his record-setting triple:
The road to history is apparently paved with the egregious defensive mistakes of others.
The personal marks didn't stop with Allen either. Even though Dwyane Wade had a shooting night to forget, he also made a little team history:
Danny Martinez @DannyMartinez4
In HEAT history, only Brain Shaw has finished with 10+ assists, 9+ rebounds and less than 10 points. He did it twice. Dwyane Wade joins him4/26/2013, 1:36:23 AM
Eventually the Heat will run up against an opponent that'll give them a real test. Of course, that might not happen until the NBA Finals, but sooner or later, the Heat will compete against a worthy opponent.
For now, all the Heat have to keep them occupied is a collective pursuit of history that might very well end up with them finishing the year as one of the most dominant teams to ever play.