O’Neal got his first season in Miami off to a brilliant start, helping the Heat to four straight victories. However, they have lost consecutive games since, including Friday’s 93-84 setback to O’Neal’s former archrivals—Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.
“This is different now,” O’Neal said after scoring 23 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. “When I was in the purple and gold (of the Los Angeles Lakers), it was always two teams fighting for a chance to play in the Finals and win a title.”
The Heat are hoping the addition of O’Neal in a blockbuster offseason deal with Los Angeles pushes them into title contention. But since their strong start, the Heat have been outscored by an average of 15 points in the two losses.
Dwyane Wade, the Heat’s leading scorer, was out of the lineup Friday after spraining his left ankle in Thursday’s loss to Dallas.
“Our guys showed tough resolve to come out on the road and deal with the adversity we had tonight,” Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. “I feel like tonight’s game was a step forward for us.”
Wade is listed as questionable for this game as the Heat try to bounce back from their first home loss in 15 games after Dallas ended Miami’s franchise-record run at AmericanAirlines Arena.
The Bucks opened the season with a 93-92 loss in Orlando, but have bounced back with three straight wins, including Saturday’s 94-91 victory over New Orleans.
“I didn’t have my stroke at the beginning,” said Redd, who heated up after a slow start. “They did a tremendous job of getting a hand in my face, but I was missing shots, too. My teammates did a great job of keeping my head in the game.”
Joe Smith added 15 points and 11 rebounds for Milwaukee, which went unbeaten on its three-game homestand but is still looking for its first road victory.
Bucks forward Zaza Pachulia missed his second straight game Saturday because of a sore right foot.