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Heat 94, Bucks 83

The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- The Miami Heat tied the franchise record with their 61st win of the season, beating their likely first-round playoff opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks, 94-83 Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.

LeBron James led the Heat with 28 points and seven assists, and he added seven rebounds in just 29 minutes. Heat forward Udonis Haslem had his first double-double of the season, finishing with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Brandon Jennings led the Bucks with a game-high 30 points, but none of his teammates scored more than eight.

Milwaukee never seriously threatened Miami in the fourth quarter.

The Heat (61-16) still has five games left to break the record, which was set in 1996-97 by the Miami team that featured center Alonzo Mourning and guard Tim Hardaway.

This year's team is led by James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but the latter two sat out again due to injuries/illness.

The Heat also need one more win or one San Antonio Spurs loss to clinch the top record in the NBA. It is almost certain they will play Milwaukee -- which has already clinched a playoff berth and sits in eighth place in the Eastern Conference -- in the first round of the playoffs.

In Tuesday's game, the Heat began by shooting 1-for-19 from 3-point range before finally getting hot from long distance. Miami finished 8-for-35 (23 percent) on 3-pointers.

The Heat were on top 47-46 at halftime after earlier leading by as many as 11 points. A big surprise in the first half was the play of Haslem, who had 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Bucks, though, hung tough and won the second period, 25-21.

The momentum went back to the Heat in the third quarter, when Miami outscored Milwaukee 24-13.

NOTES: Bosh, who missed the Heat's previous game with a hyperextended knee, did not play Tuesday because of the flu. He will not travel to Miami's game at Washington on Wednesday. ... Wade missed his fifth straight game because of knee and ankle injuries. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade went through Tuesday's entire shootaround. "He is making progress," Spoelstra said. ... The Bucks have won just three of their past 11 games, but one of the players whom coach Jim Boylan can rely on to give consistent energy and effort is 6-foot-11 center Larry Sanders, who is averaging 9.9 points and a team-high 9.6 rebounds. In addition, Sanders is considered one of the NBA's best defenders and ranks second in the league in blocks with 2.9. "He didn't really have a great summer, but he came back in September and was in great shape," Boylan said of Sanders. "Suddenly, he was everywhere on the floor, blocking shots. He's a big reason why we made the playoffs." He had eight points, nine boards and one block Tuesday.... On the injured list for the Bucks were forward Drew Gooden and center Ekpe Udoh. ... The Bucks will play at Orlando on Wednesday.
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