The Miami Heat are a club that plays extremely well against the elite teams in the Association while showing a tendency to play down to the level of their competition when they play the weaker clubs in the NBA. Wednesday night was a perfect example of them not taking a competitor seriously enough as they took on the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center. Miami would burst out front after the first 12 minutes of action to a 40-23 lead over their hosts. The Heat apparently thought they had the game sewn up and decided to go into coast-mode; a decision that would come back to bite them in the butt as they not only surrendered the lead but lost the contest as the Bucks rallied to beat them 105-97.
After knocking down 40 points in the first, Miami would score just half of that during the second and just 37 points the entire second half. Milwaukee would still trail by 13 points at the half, however they would outscore their visitors by 21 points in the final 24 minutes to get the victory. It was the second win for the Bucks in two games against Miami, they beat the Heat last month by a final score of 91-82.
Brandon Jennings led five Milwaukee players in double-digits as he knocked down 31 points while Drew Gooden added another 17 points in the win. LeBron James was the high scorer of the night with 40 points while Dwyane Wade dropped 23 points for the night. They would not get enough support however from the rest of the squad to hold on for the win.
James was the key to the strong start by the Heat as the former NBA MVP knocked down 24 points in the first. He drained a 27 foot trey with two seconds left in the period and Miami looked like they were on their way to a rout on top 40-23. The smiles on the Heat players would start to fade in the second as their red-hot offense cooled down considerably. Jennings would split a pair at the line and the Bucks had cut their deficit a bit at the half with Miami still leading 60-47.
With 7:52 remaining in the third Gooden drove the lane putting the ball up and in and cut the Heat’s advantage to 64-62. Miami would pull ahead and lead by as many as seven points, however Milwaukee would get close again in the final moments of the period and they trailed 69-66 at the conclusion of the quarter. Mike Dunleavy hit an outside jumper with 9:02 left in the game giving the Bucks the upper hand with the score 83-81. They would retain the lead for the balance of the night as Miami was never able to regroup.
Jennings had 31 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals while Gooden knocked down 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute added 13 points and 8 rebounds while Carlos Delfino had 11 points, 2 assists, a block, a rebound and a steal. Mike Dunleavy came off the bench with 10 points, 5 assists and a rebound.
James would put up 40 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steal. Wade had 23 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, a block and a steal while Mario Chalmers scored 16 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds, a block and a steal. Milwaukee now stands at 10-11 and travel to Auburn Hills to face the Detroit Pistons on Friday while Miami now has a 16-6 record and will be in Philadelphia on Friday as they take on the Sixers.