Just like how he did in Chicago Monday and Brooklyn Tuesday, Dwyane Wade hit another clutch jumper with just under 45 seconds left to bring the Heat ahead and conducted a crucial defensive play to ice the game. With two wins and losses each leading up to their road trip finale in Milwaukee, the Heat wanted to return to Miami with more wins under their belt. It'd take effort and it certainly wasn't easy but fueled by the returns of a couple players and strong fourth quarter performances by Wade and Chris Bosh, Miami would get their wish.
One of those returns was from Goran Dragic, who missed the last eight games due to a calf strain. The point guard looked like he didn't miss a beat, scoring six straight points within the first four minutes of the game. The other return belonged to Josh McRoberts, who hadn't played since Dec. 9 due to lingering knee soreness. Wade, playing in his college hometown(Marquette), had seven points and four assists to lead the Heat 33-28 after one.
Yell it with us... "AND-1!" pic.twitter.com/Ivhx0fzlME— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 30, 2016
Gerald Green ferociously started the second quarter with a put back dunk. From there, Miami would appear to gain momentum as they pushed the lead to as much as 12 behind an array of passes. The Bucks, however, would stay in it as Greg Monroe and Jabari Parker pushed them away from a blowout. But Miami's distribution would keep them ahead as the team connected on 18 first-half assists, a season to high, to lead the Bucks 55-48 at halftime. Wade led the charge with seven of those assists.
A common theme, Miami would flounder their lead while the Bucks picked up the energy. The Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo, showed why he'd acquire the nickname. The 21-year-old had 13 third quarter points and big defensive plays to help snatch the game from Miami. Again, the Heat had went through a mini collapse as they were on the wrong side of 35-26 shift in the third. The Bucks led 83-81 heading into the fourth.
Determined not to go back to Miami as losers, the Heat's veterans would play big down the stretch. Chris Bosh, named an All-Star reserve the day before, opened the final quarter with eight points in four minutes. In the process, Bosh made his 75th three-pointer of the season, setting a career high for triples made in a single season(beating 74 in 2013-14 by 33 games).
A former but forgotten All-Star, Amare Stoudamire played some of his best minutes of the season in the fourth quarter. Stoudamire had big rebounds, putbacks and key defensive plays down the stretch. His energy on both sides of the floor set Miami up for a great finish.
Finally, the constant, unforgotten All-Star heading to his 13th straight game in February, left his mark in the fourth quarter with some superstar level play. Wade scored 10 of Miami's final 13 points including a go-ahead jumper with 45 seconds left to put the Heat ahead 103-101. Wade would then steal the ball on the other end and hit multiple free-throws to win the game for Miami, 107-103.
Closer. pic.twitter.com/0n5evSiYqo— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 30, 2016
This is the fourth straight 20-point game for Wade; he had a complete game Friday, finishing with 24 points, 7 assists, four rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Bosh also had a well-rounded game with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists. The rest of the starting lineup played stellar as well. Deng added 16 points and seven rebounds and Dragic, in his return, had a solid 12 points and eight assists. Amare Stoudamire, who has been playing in place of injured center Hassan Whiteside, put up an efficient 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.
Miami's defense looked solid again Friday night. Kris Middleton, who scorched the Heat with 22 points a couple weeks ago, ended up with just 9 points on 2-13 shooting. Giannis Antetokoumpo led the Bucks with 28 points and six assists and Greg Monroe had 24 points and five rebounds. The Bucks committed 19 turnovers and shot just 16.7% from downtown compared to the Heat's 38.9%.
The Heat will return home Sunday and face the Atlanta Hawks @ 6:00 P.M.