I could sit here and rant and rave over the fact the Miami Heat blew another double-digit lead–giving up an 18-point lead this time–and how yet another athletic big man devastated them on the inside.
But we’ll let the Miami Heat have their moment. After all, this Milwaukee Bucks team they defeated has given them an unreasonable and befuddling amount of torment in the past, winning two meetings last year. The Heat will take this win and enjoy it, because it could have easily turned into an embarrassing loss.
Back home for the first time in nearly two weeks, the Heat defeated an improved Bucks team 113-106 behind Dwyane Wade’s 28 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds in his first game since last Wednesday when he recorded a season-low in points against the Clippers.
LeBron James chipped in another ho-hum 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 rebounds, committing only one turnover, in 43 minutes, while Chris Bosh set his high for rebounds in a Heat uniform with 18 to accompany an efficient 24 points on only 14 shots.
They led the Heat to a win and a 9-3 record, but it was Udonis Haslem who stole the show. By grabbing his second rebound with 2:37 left in the first quarter, Haslem became the outright franchise leader in rebounds surpassing Alonzo Mourning. Haslem is the first undrafted player in NBA history to lead their franchise in rebounds.
He finished with two points, eight rebounds and two steals in 18 minutes.
The Big Three led the charge in a wildly efficient first quarter where they outscored the Bucks 29-15. The Heat were taking advantage of the Bucks and some awful shooting early on, building a lead that hit 18 points twice–once when it was 37-19 with 8:52 left and then a 41-23 lead with 7:12 left.
Then the Heat began to lose focus. Missed free throws came back to bite them, Brandon Jennings began to penetrate, and the offense fell to pieces. A lead that once stood at 18 fell all the way down to two after Samuel Dalembert, yes, Samuel Dalembert, made his first ever three-pointer.
The Bucks run started after forward Larry Sanders argued his way into an ejection with 4:10 left.
Rookie John Henson had a lot to do with it. The athletic big man dominated under the rim to finish with 17 points and 18 rebounds, 8 alone coming on the offensive boards. While Bosh paced the Heat with 18 boards of his own and led the Heat to a 54-47 overall advantage on the boards, Henson made it seem as if he was by himself.
Milwaukee possessed a 16-12 advantage on the offensive glass. The Heat committed 15 turnovers to the Bucks’ 11.
When it mattered, however, the Heat were able to come through erasing a seven-point deficit in the fourth, making a stop on the Bucks final possession, and outscoring Milwaukee 15-8 in the overtime, using a 6-0 run and staunch defense to keep any sort of comeback out of reach.
It wasn’t easy getting to overtime. Miami dug themselves into a hole where they were down 91-84 with 4:51 left. The Heat then ran off a 10-0 run that was capped off by a Ray Allen (15 points and 3/5 shooting from deep) three-pointer.
This being a game of runs, this didn’t last. Milwaukee immediately turned the tables with a 5-0 run.
The Heat experimented with a new rotation. Rather than Rashard Lewis coming off the bench, it was Joel Anthony and Mike Miller getting minutes in his place. Miller was able to hit a three and dish out two dimes in 13 minutes, while Anthony failed to record a stat in two minutes.
Lewis didn’t play due to an illness.
Fortunately for the Heat, talent prevailed and they were able to move to 9-3 on the year, matching their best 12-game start in franchise history. The chances are high that they could pull out a win and continue this hot start against the Kyrie Irving-less Cleveland Cavaliers, who visit the Heat on Saturday.