Huffpost Sports

Heat Beat Bucks 88-78 For Season-Best 5th Straight Win

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MILWAUKEE — Dwyane Wade had 25 points and a career-high 14 rebounds back in the city where his career took off and the Miami Heat beat the Milwaukee Bucks 88-78 on Monday night for their fifth straight win.

LeBron James added 17 points and Chris Bosh had 16 points and 12 rebounds as Miami used a 17-2 run in the first half to take control, then weathered a late scoring drought before James, Wade and Bosh hit clutch shots in the closing minutes.

Corey Maggette scored 20 points for the Bucks, but Milwaukee can't seem to figure out any team with James on the roster.

Since coach Scott Skiles and general manager John Hammond took over the organization, they are 0-8 against James' teams, only winning once when James did not play with the Cavaliers.

Wade's three-point play gave Miami a seemingly comfortable 74-61 lead early in the fourth, but the Heat stumbled down the stretch with four missed shots and four turnovers during a 4 1/2-minute scoreless stretch.

Chris Douglas-Roberts hit a 3-pointer, Brandon Jennings added a free throw and Ersan Ilyasova made a 16-footer to make it 74-71.

After a Miami timeout, the Heat went back to James, who waited for Maggette to pass by on defense before making a 15-footer. After a Jennings miss, Wade hit an 18-foot jumper over Douglas-Roberts.

James then swatted away Maggette's attempt at the rim and Bosh hit a reverse layup around Andrew Bogut to make it 80-71 as the Bucks missed nine straight shots before Maggette's three-point play.

But Wade, who starred for Marquette in college, once again answered with an 18-foot jumper with 2:07 left and the Bucks couldn't get closer.

Carlos Arroyo added 18 points for the Heat, while Milwaukee got 13 points from Jennings and 11 points and 13 rebounds from Bogut.

James set the tone with two early dunks as the Heat jumped out to another strong start. LeBron's first slam came over Bogut and rookie Larry Sanders, and the second trailing a play on a pass left by Wade, who raised his arms to the side already knowing what was coming next.

Milwaukee (7-13) tied it early in the second quarter after trailing by 10, but Miami turned up the pressure from there as Wade became Miami's primary offensive threat during the Heat's 17-2 run.

Milwaukee was an overmatched mess in Miami's dominant 9-minute stretch. The Bucks missed 13 of 14 shots and committed four turnovers as the Heat feasted on the mistakes.

The Bucks got as close as 51-47 early in the third quarter, but the Heat never relinquished the lead.

Milwaukee hasn't lived up to expectations after last year's run to the postseason, losing seven of eight before a win over a short-handed Orlando squad on Saturday.

Questions surrounded the Heat (14-8) for failing to meet early expectations, too, after a 9-8 start and a team meeting in Dallas following a Nov. 27 loss.

Most of that criticism is gone with this winning streak.

The Heat routed Cleveland in James' return there Thursday and beat the Hawks at home on Saturday. Miami will have a lot of time together away from South Beach in the coming weeks with 14 of the next 20 games on the road after this one, including stops in Utah, Golden State and Sacramento on this trip.

NOTES: Bucks F Drew Gooden (left foot) did not play for the fourth time in five games. ... Bucks owner and Sen. Herb Kohl was in his customary seat five rows behind center court. ... At least nine Packers players attended the game, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers. ... Former Knicks F Latrell Sprewell also was courtside, with even better seats than Rodgers. ... Wade heard chants of "Diener's better" when he took foul shots. Travis Diener and Wade were teammates on Marquette's 2003 Final Four team.

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