Heat 117, Bucks 98
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Dwyane Wade heard raucous chants of “MVP,” had a mountain of memorabilia to sign and saw his picture hanging high above the court.
Little wonder he’s so comfortable in Milwaukee.
Wade capped his special weekend with another brilliant performance in the Bradley Center with 32 points and 11 assists, and Jason Kapono added a career-high 28 points to lead the Miami Heat over the Milwaukee Bucks 117-98 on Saturday night.
“It was great,” Wade said. “It was very special for me and my family … a win-win all-around. Marquette won, the Heat won and I got my jersey retired.”
Wade, who went 11-of-17 from the field, also extended his franchise-best streak of consecutive games with at least 20 points to 14 as Miami won its third straight and snapped a five-game road losing streak. He also had his collegiate jersey retired Saturday in a ceremony during the Providence-Marquette game.
“He’s the greatest guard I’ve ever played with, and I’ve played with some great ones,” said Shaquille O’Neal, who quietly had 20 points in 20 minutes after first-half foul trouble. “We talk all the time. We stay on each other all the time. We’re the best of friends.”
Wade’s performance trumped Mo Williams’ career-best 38 points on 16-of-31 shooting that led five players in double figures for the Bucks, who have lost four in a row and 15 of the last 17.
Williams still doesn’t have backcourt mate Michael Redd (left knee). Redd is expected to practice on Monday and may be back as early as Tuesday against Orlando
“I definitely don’t feel comfortable shooting 31 times,” Williams said. “When Mike is there, I’m 15, 16 shots. I’m comfortable with that.”
Eddie Jones returned to the court for the first time since signing with the Heat on Thursday. The 35-year-old guard, one of Miami’s most popular players from 2000-05, was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. He played six minutes and scored two points.
Wade, O’Neal and Kapono quickly erased an early second-half deficit by feeding off each other during a torrid shooting display in the third. All three scored in double digits in the quarter as the Heat scored 41 points on 15-of-19 shooting from the field.
O’Neal had 11 points in the quarter, including an alley-oop slam off Wade’s pass during a 22-4 run that gave Miami control of the game.
On the next possession, Wade found Kapono crosscourt for a 3-pointer. Kapono, the league’s most accurate 3-pointer shooter at 55 percent, went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in the period with 14 points as Miami led 90-78 lead after three. Kapono finished 6-of-7 from 3-point range.
“It was rhythm and guys did a good job of setting screens,” Kapono said. “I’m a slow guy. It takes time for me to get my shot off. I’m a slug.”
Milwaukee got 16 points and 11 rebounds from Charlie Villanueva, 11 points from Ruben Patterson and 10 each from Charlie Bell and Earl Boykins. The Bucks went on an 11-2 run to cut the Heat’s lead to 92-87 early in the fourth after a 20-foot jumper by Williams, who said after the game that the Bradley Center remains Wade’s home.
“He always plays well when he comes here,” Williams said.
Miami stretched the lead back to double digits when O’Neal, who didn’t head to the other end of the court to play defense on one play, was all alone on a fast break. He made a behind-the-back pass to Udonis Haslem, who finished with 11 rebounds, for a dunk to make it 101-91 and the Bucks never got within striking distance again.
Wade already had a busy weekend back in his old college haunt where he led the Golden Eagles to a 31-1 home record and the Final Four in 2003. His jersey was retired earlier Saturday and his picture now hangs directly beside the school’s postseason banner and one honoring Al McGuire’s 1977 NCAA championship team on the Bucks’ home court that they share with Marquette.
For a while, Wade looked to steal the entire spotlight.
O’Neal was expected to play more than the 28 minutes he logged in the Heat’s 92-89 victory over the Cavaliers on Thursday night.
But after scoring the game’s opening basket, O’Neal picked up two fouls with 10:16 left in the first quarter and his third two minutes into the second.
Heat G Jason Williams missed his third straight game with an abdominal strain. Gary Payton started in his place, but was ejected for arguing a call just before halftime. … Miami scored a season high for points in a quarter in the third. It was also the most the Bucks had allowed in a quarter this season.