USA TODAY Sports
Miami's Big 3 combined for 76 points to help the Heat continue their winning ways.
Chris Bosh scored 28 points on 12-16 shots while LeBron James (28 pts, 10 rebs, 7 asts) and Dwyane Wade (20 pts, 7 rebs, 9 asts) each flirted with triple-doubles, powering the Heat past the Bucks to extend their winning streak to 21-straight games. The Heat shot 51.9% from the floor and 46.7% from behind the arc.
Milwaukee got a big game from Ersan Ilyasova, who led the team with 26 points and 17 rebounds, 7 of which came on the offensive glass. Ersan's indomitable energy was on full display as he tipped in Milwaukee misses (and there were plenty) in traffic. Meanwhile Brandon Jennings had yet another quiet first half but finished with a solid line of 21 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Unfortunately, much of that production came with the Bucks in a big hole thanks in large part to another underwhelming defensive effort. The Heat attacked the rim with purpose all night, finishing with 42 points in the paint and setting up plenty of open jumpers off dribble penetration.
The Bucks don't have near the offensive talent of Miami, but they've been scoring at a great clip recently on the back of Monta Ellis (7 pts, 7 asts, 3 rebs), who entered tonight averaging 27 points per game on 54% shooting over his last seven games. But he was never able to find his stroke--or even consistent openings to shoot--against the Heat, missing 8 of his 11 attempts and failing to get to the line even once. The Bucks' bench also struggled, combining to shoot just 6-23.
Even if the Bucks have had relative success against the Heat lately, Miami is simply on a whole other level right now. Despite a relatively tame scoring performance from LeBron (by his standards), it always felt like everything was proceeding according to his plan.
The game also featured a nasty injury scare. Early in the game Dwyane Wade had a runner in the lane blocked by Larry Sanders (6 pts, 10 rebs), who's rear end collided with Wade's face and seemed to ring the former Marquette star's bell. He left the court for a short time but returned in the next quarters. Larry Sanders kept things interesting in the fourth quarter when he vehemently shouted down an official after getting whistled for a foul and received two quick technicals and his second straight ejection. He showed off the sarcastic thumbs-up once again (maybe it's getting a little played out, Larry?), but needs to realize that continuing his hot-headed antics will eventually land him on the bench--in street clothes. That's something the Bucks can't afford and a reputation Larry doesn't need.
The loss drops Milwaukee back to .500 and puts them 3 games behind Chicago and Boston for the 6/7 seed in the Easter Conference. The Bucks' next game is Sunday afternoon when they host the Magic.