The Milwaukee Bucks’ five-game winning streak against Miami, and their four-game home winning streak were both snapped Friday night by the Miami Heat in a 107-103 defeat.
Marquette alum Dwayne Wade, described as “Benjamin Button” by Heat coach Eric Spoelstra, returned to the BMO Harris Bradley Center and led the way for the Heat with 24 points along with 7 assists and 4 rebounds.
The Heat also got a boost by adding key players Goran Dragic and Josh McRoberts back to the rotation after missing time with injuries. Dragic scored 12 points to go along with a team-high 8 assists in 32 minutes of action. In 12 minutes of play, McRoberts had 2 points with 2 assists, 1 rebound, and 1 steal.
“It was great. We’re a no excuses team, but we look a lot different with them. I was probably the happiest guy to have both those guys back in the rotation,” said Spoelstra.
The Bucks played from behind for most of the game, and struggled to capture a lead until late in the third quarter. Back-to-back 3-point field goals by Rashad Vaughn (only two threes for the Bucks all game) gave the Bucks their first lead since the score was 17-16 in the first quarter. The crowd erupted, but Miami quickly regained the lead to start out the fourth quarter.
The Bucks managed to tie the game at 101-101 with 0.59 seconds to go after a dunk by Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, Wade answered by sinking a step back jumper from just inside the arc, and the Heat never let the lead go after that.
Antetokounmpo led the way for the Bucks with 28 points and 6 assists. Greg Monroe had 24 points, and Jabari Parker added 17.
The biggest positive from the Bucks however, may have been from Miles Plumlee and Rashad Vaughn. The two came off the bench and sparked the Bucks with 8 points apiece in limited minutes.
“I thought Miles was great. He gave us a lift off the bench. We are going to need that especially with our bench being shortened a little. I thought Vaughn was good for us tonight too. We need everybody that’s healthy to participate, and I thought those two guys did a really good job,” said Bucks coach Jason Kidd.
With his own banner hanging from the rafters, it was Wade’s 15th 20+ point game at the Bradley Center during his time in the NBA. I asked Wade if it’s special coming back to the Bradley Center every time and hearing a loud ovation as his name is announced and he said, “Yeah it is always great, man. I can’t play this game forever. One day I’m going to miss it. It gets special every time. Because of social media you get to see that whether it’s people that live in Milwaukee, or go to Marquette, it’s the first chance they get to see me play live too. I listen to that, and I take that into consideration. I want to leave them with an impression of a basketball player that they like.”
Now the Bucks begin a three-game road trip out west. Milwaukee will begin the trip in Sacramento to take on the Kings (2/1), before playing Portland (2/2) and Utah (2/5). The Bucks are currently 7-21 on the road this season.