MILWAUKEE (AP)—Reserve Daequan Cook wasted no time redeeming himself.
A night after teammates questioned if he’d even played in Miami’s win at Minnesota following an 0-for-3 performance, Cook hit his first six 3-pointers en route to a career-high 24 points in the Heat’s 102-99 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
“He came back and shut all of us up,” said Dwyane Wade, who struggled himself.
“It was a great shooting display,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He can go on runs in practice where he just does not miss.”
But rarely in a game. Good thing it was just in time for Miami because Wade was ice cold, missing his first six shots and his last four, too.
Wade finished 5-for-20 and had 17 points, contributing by distributing 13 assists to help the Heat improve to 3-2 on a seven-game trip.
“Every shot I shot they hit me on my arm. That’s why my shots were short,” said Wade, who scored 31 points Tuesday night but looked tired and frustrated against the Bucks. “We found another way. My teammates did a great job.”
It looked like it wasn’t going to matter that Miami was missing the 29.1 average from the NBA’s leading scorer.
The Heat went on a 9-0 run to start the second half and had an 84-74 lead with 10:57 to play, but the Bucks, who overcame a 12-point second-half deficit in Washington on Monday night, nearly came back in this one thanks to 25 points by Luke Ridnour and 16 by Michael Redd.
Ridnour’s basket cut it to 97-93 with 2:09 to play and Wade missed his final four shots with Redd, a fellow Olympian, hounding him.
“It’s a tough loss, especially with the momentum we had in the win out there on the road,” Redd said.
Redd added a putback basket to make it 97-95, but the Bucks squandered several opportunities to tie, first when Richard Jefferson, who had 15 points, threw a pass away then was blocked on the ensuing possession by Shawn Marion.
“We couldn’t make plays,” Redd said. “That hurt us. That wasn’t the totality of the game, but you’ve definitely got to finish better down the stretch.”
Cook, meanwhile, went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 21 seconds to give the Heat a 102-99 lead with 6.9 seconds left.
“Cleared my mind and shot the same free throws that I shot warming up,” Cook said. “These are the same shots I’d shoot whether it was a close game or the first quarter.”
Without a timeout to set up a play, Bucks rookie Joe Alexander, who had hit a layup moments earlier to finish with 13 points, shot an air ball on a 3-point attempt to tie and the Heat ran off the final fraction of a second for the victory.
“I shot it because I thought I was going to make it,” said Alexander, who is playing very little after being selected with the eighth pick in the draft. “That was not designed for me. It just happened that I had it. Time was running down. I thought I was doing the right thing.”
Wade, revered in this town because of his role in taking Marquette to the NCAA Final Four in 2003, could have gotten plenty of gear from the Bucks’ pro shops, which stocked No. 3 Heat jerseys, socks and other memorabilia.
But little resembled the NBA’s biggest scoring threat this season on the floor. Wade started by missing his first six shots and didn’t score until he stole the ball from Ridnour for an easy dunk on the other end midway through the second quarter.
Cook—who called himself the “bail bondsman” for helping out Wade in the clutch—had no problem picking up the slack. He already had a career-night with 7:31 left to play in the second quarter when he hit his career-best sixth 3-pointer in six attempts even though that was the last long-range shot he’d make.
By that point, the Bucks were forced to change their defensive scheme.
“I came out with a different mind-set,” said Cook, who took his teammates’ ribbing in stride. “It kept me focused.”
Marion finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Miami also got 21 points from rookie Michael Beasley and 18 points from Udonis Haslem. Andrew Bogut scored 12 points and had 11 rebounds for the Bucks. … Brian Shaw hit 10 3-pointers in a 117-92 win at Milwaukee on April 8, 1993, to set the Heat record for 3s in a game. … Both teams led by double digits in the first half, but it was tied at 55 at the break. … At tip, it was 6 degrees with temperatures dropping to 10 below, 71 degrees lower than Miami. “It’s always great coming back to Milwaukee, but the cold is always great leaving as well,” Wade said.