Miami Heat Index: Buck Stops Here For Heat


89. 89. Final. 88. 110

For the Miami Heat, this is another case of snatching a loss from the jaws of victory.


The Milwaukee Bucks stormed back from a 16-point deficit to shock the Heat on a buzzer-beating three by Khris Middleton to snap the Bucks six-game losing streak.. The win also extends Milwaukee’s lead over Miami to two and a half games for the sixth spot in the East, as well as clinches a sweep over the Heat. The win moves Milwaukee to 35-36, while the loss drops Miami to 32-38.

The Heat were without Hassan Whiteside for the entire second half with a cut on his right hand that required stiches. His status for Wednesday’s against the Boston Celtics is unknown. It had been a few weeks since something disastrous happened to the Heat, so maybe we were just overdue.

The Bucks, a team that exists to destroy spell-checkers everywhere, had five players in double-figures, three of which recorded double-doubles, as the Heat had no answer in the interior. Ersan Ilyasova led the Bucks with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Zaza Pachulia went for 14 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 5 steals. Young phenom Giannis Antekounmpo had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks, to help with the win. But it was Middleton’s three (13 points) with time expiring after a loose-ball scramble that was the dagger for the Heat.

Things that pleased me: Dwyane Wade led all scorers with 21 points, on 7 of 14 shooting, with 4 assists, 2 rebounds, and 3 steals. His hot March continues, as he’s carried the Heat on his back over the month.

Heat point guard Goran Dragic continues to do wonders for a Heat team that looks like it runs through mud whenever he’s not around, as he went for 16 points (7 of 12 shooting) and dished out 6 assists. It’s amazing watching him get into the paint against much bigger defenders and still put up the shots he does.

Things that annoyed me: I’m not mad at Michael Beasley, although he should have won that jump-ball against Jerryd Bayless. I’m not mad at Wade, who missed a pivotal free throw that would have given the Heat a four point lead late in the game.

I am mad at the overall pathetic performance the Heat had in the fourth quarter, on both ends of the court. Dragic opened the quarter with a basket to give them a 16-point lead. That would be the high point. Miami would go on to score seven more points after that, as the Heat had no rhythm on offense. The ball stopped moving and, even when Dragic had the ball, players were just standing around for something to happen.

But what happened on defense? The same group that held the Bucks to 39% shooting through the first three quarters just fell apart in the fourth, as Milwaukee shot just under 48% in the fourth, as well as doubling the amount of rebounds (14-7) in the final frame. Say what you want about the loss of Whiteside, Miami had things going their way even without him out there, so you can’t pin the collapse all on his absence. This has been like many of their blown double-digit leads over the course of the season that just saw them get away from what they were doing on offense, then scramble to hold on as the opposition makes a run.

Things that perplexed me: What is with that court design in Milwaukee? It’s very distracting. I can’t tell what the pattern is actually supposed to be. It looks like the Buck at center court is in crosshairs or something. Can we just move them to Seattle and never mention this again?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how badly did I want to throw a lamp because of Mario Chalmers? 4. It was a Chalmers game – 14 points, on 4 for 10 shooting, 2 assists, 3 steals, and 2 turnovers. Although his near-miss dunk on a fastbreak would have been apex Chalmers had it rimmed out.

What we learned: Take nothing for granted with this edition of the Miami Heat. There’s no longer the “Yeah, that’s a win” game on the schedule, as the Heat have enough issues of their own to make them vulnerable on a nightly basis.

But another blown double-digit lead against a playoff team, even one as woeful as the slumping Bucks, just leaves a bad taste in your mouth. With a four-game road trip that includes opponents that Miami is jockeying for playoff position with – Milwaukee and Boston – the Heat need to win these games. Now running the risk of going to Miami looking at a 1-3 or 0-4 trip in the face can be backbreaking for Heat team already with a razor thin margin for error.