The Miami Heat have bounced back after a tough loss to the Indiana Pacers with a pair of blowout victories against the Detroit Pistons on Friday and now tonight with the 88-67 win against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks are the worst team in the NBA and they looked like it so it's not like the Heat's recent issues have been anywhere close to being resolved, especially with the patchwork rotation pieced together by head coach Erik Spoelstra in the absences of Dywane Wade, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers and Greg Oden all out again. But who we did see out on the floor did give forth a surprisingly decent amount of effort considering it was on the second night of a back-to-back and given the quality of the opponent.
Both teams starting poorly with neither able to knock down shots or even free throws. Gradually both teams starting playing more like they're accustomed to, which translated into the Bucks only scoring 12 points for the entire first quarter. The Heat began growing their lead and never looked back, eventually collecting a large enough lead to safely put away any fears of the unthinkable.
Along the way, starting point guard Toney Douglas scored a Heat-best 13 points and even led the team with seven rebounds at the half to close with nine for the game. LeBron only had four points at the half, and finished with 13 points and seven rebounds. The MVP was on autopilot a bit tonight (certainly understandable) and in the second half he didn't score his first field goal since the first quarter until less than six minutes left in the third quarter when he knocked down a three-pointer.
Birdman reached his season high with 14 rebounds in another high-energy, impactful performance. Rashard Lewis continues to respond well by being placed back into the lineup due to the team injuries with 13 points. The Heat may have been hit with some injuries but the bench responded with 34 points.
Wade missed his 21st game of the season suffering from the effects of a tight left hamstring. Allen continues to suffer from a stomach virus while Oden sat out due to back spasms.
The Heat are now a game and a half behind the Indiana Pacers in the standings with just one game back in the loss column. With a certain victory in hand, Miami was able to rest their starters for much of the fourth quarter. The Bucks ended up with a season-low 67 points on 34% shooting. They failed to score more than 17 points in the first three quarters of the game. According to Sun Sports, this is the first time the Heat have held two consecutive teams under 80 points this season.
The Heat closed a stretch of six road games in their last eight games and will now play a five-game home stand and seven of their final 10 games of the regular season.