Things haven’t been going in the smoothest or easiest way for the Miami Heat this season, so LeBron James and the NBA champions are understandably happy to face a team like the Milwaukee Bucks and beat them 96-77, helping them recharge their batteries and keep their lead in the Eastern conference intact.
James didn’t explode against the worst team in the NBA. He simply made choosy picking of the moments in which he wanted to shine, which happened to be at the end of every quarter before finally taking a well deserved rest in the fourth. He finished with 17 points and 8 assists, leading one of the best defensive games we’ve seem from Miami in a very long time.
Dwyane Wade still isn’t playing and Ray Allen is also out, but playing with Toney Douglas isn’t that bad. Douglas and Chalmers did a great job in trapping Brandon Knight again and again, forcing 17 turnovers on the Bucks, 10 of them coming from their backcourt of Sessions and Knight. The Heat scored 19 points off those turnovers, including 15 on the fast break, while the Bucks lost every quarter except for the last one, when the Heat were no longer playing their best players.
Chris Bosh didn’t grab a single rebound but scored 15 points in the win, followed by Mario Chalmers with 14 points. Chalmers, always an underrated piece in the Heat’s puzzle over the last few years might have to take on a bigger role in this postseason than in the past. Dwyane Wade can’t be completely trusted to put in big games consistently, and it’s been a bad season for Norris Cole on both ends of the floor.
While James didn’t impress with his stats, he did pull off a couple of nice dunks – one huge posterizing slam over Ekpe Udoh and another reverse jam to end the second quarter. The moral of the story? Never let James gather enough speed heading towards the basket. On both occasions he began his move well in his team’s own half of the court, and by the time he was getting to the top of the key there wasn’t really much to do that could have stopped him.
The Bucks, like too many teams this season, aren’t an indication for anything. Just a group of guys it seems to be easy to pull off wins against, not to mention put up big numbers, which is something no one on the Heat seems to be thinking about. It is however a comfortable enough rival to keep a small distance between them and the Pacers, who might be getting back to their winning ways and removing whatever it was that had been pulling them down in recent games.
If I feel like I can give something, I’ve got to be out there for my teammates. It’s my obligation to be out there for them. I’m dealing with a few things, but for me to sit out, I have to be dealing with a lot more. I like our effort. We just have to take care of business and do what we’re supposed to do.