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Recap: Bucks 98 Heat 83

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After venturing outdoors this morning and watching the game tonight, I know these two things to be true: Milwaukee left the bitter cold behind in Wisconsin and beat the Heat in Miami 98-83.

After a blowout-turned-nervous win over the Pacers, we pleaded for another win, but oh pretty-please, one sans drama. Our wish was the Bucks' command. Milwaukee didn't truly coast tonight, stumbling a bit late in the third and fourth quarters. But the Bucks held at least a nine point lead for the final 35 minutes of the game. Even with a couple mildly tense moments, this was a comprehensive win against a solid foe on the road. The victory marked Milwaukee's first win away from the BC in more than three weeks.

So, how did they do the good deed?

Andrew Bogut thankfully punished Joel Anthony (sidenote: Joel Anthony starts for the Heat) on the inside, and Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva swished shots early. Most of all, everyone teamed up to play defense; they held Dwyane Wade (15 points on 5-16) in check while coach Erik Spoelstra held designated Buck-killer Chris Quinn (nine minutes, three points) off the court mostly. 

Three Bucks

  • Andrew Bogut. A couple nights after demanding headlines with a 20-20 game, Bogut blended in with a somewhat quiet but supremely effective 20/11 on 10-12 shooting from the field. Anthony (two points in 39 minutes) proved no match for the Aussie.
  • Michael Redd. His opposing shooting guard might be more popular in some parts of Milwaukee, but Michael Redd outplayed Dwyane Wade tonight. It was three-point basketball for Michael, who hit 4-6 from outside in the first quarter. Redd played Miami pretty evenly all by his lonesome in the opening period, blitzing the Heat for 16 points as Milwaukee went up 27-18. While Wade fumbled his way to three quick turnovers, Redd didn't turn the ball even once while dishing out a team-high five assists. He notched all of his 21 points in the first half.
  • Charlie Villanueva. The mystery was more mystical (iced the game with a fake around-the-back and floating and-one) than mystifying (attempted seven more shots than any other Buck). Along with Redd, he delivered early offensive punch that pretty much knocked the Heat out of the game by halftime. CV totaled 20/6/5 in yet another strong game off the bench.

Three Numbers

  • 18. The Heat scored just 18 points in each of the first, second, and fourth quarters.
  • 5. Michael Redd and Charlie Villanueva tied for the team-lead in assists with five.
  • 0. The Heat didn't attempt a single free throw in the free-flowing, Milwaukee-dominated first quarter. And that stat is a big deal, especially when you consider the Bucks entered the game allowing the most free throws per game in the NBA. Also working against the Bucks was the fact Wade was first in the league in free throws made.

Three Good

  • Miami sees red. Miami saw a steady red glow from the opening tip: road red Milwaukee uniforms, empty red seats, and a fair share of Michael Redd. A good home team coming into the fixture, the Heat were frustrated by a sizzling shooting and defensively determined Milwaukee club.
  • The Prince and the stopper. We know Luc Richard plays the role of Milwaukee royalty. But his rapidly developed reputation as a versatile defensive stopper is twice as nice. The numbers don't show he's necessarily a stopper, but in a league where most rookies aren't ready defensively, Mbah a Moute keeps a starting spot precisely because he d's up. Tonight, he set the tone of the game in the first period by smothering the ball away from Wade on a fast break and then drawing a charge. The former Marquette star went to the locker room at halftime with 4 turnovers, 3 fouls, and a technical. Wade's problems weren't all Mbah a Moute's doing; the forward wasn't even matched up with him often. But as Wade goes, so go the Heat, and the first-year forward absolutely flustered the MVP-candidate.
  • It's a new season/year. The Bucks lost with unimaginable regularity from time to time last season.  And a couple of the lowest of the low points came against Miami in the span of less than a week in mid-March. The Bucks atoned for the worst we saw in 2008, just in time for the upcoming new year.

Three Bad

  • Sort-of-super Mario. The rookie point guard hit for 20/7/8 and a team-best -2 differential while Luke Ridnour and Ramon Sessions played supporting roles in the win. But Chalmers had game-highs of five turnovers and five fouls.
  • Updates? Yeah, 10-12 from the field is excellent, and I'm sure 40 points and 31 rebounds in the last couple games is just great. But, Andrew, is it asking too much to get an in-game blog update about your favorite ways to lead the Bucks to a win? Too busy scoring efficiently or amassing bunches of rebounds, or something else superfluous, let me guess.
  • No way, Joe-A. Joe Alexander has only scored two points in the last week. I guess I'd prefer if he had maybe just a couple more. Okay. The Bucks won by 15 points on the road, party people.