Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Miami
In case you haven’t heard, the Miami Heat are on an absolute tear.
Entering Friday night, the team had won 20 straight contests. A 107-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks kept that streak alive, and it doesn’t look as if anybody will slow down this group anytime soon.
The Heat came into this one with aggressiveness and a confidence about them that was perfectly justified. They were forcing turnovers and converting at the rim, but Milwaukee made it clear that it was just as confident throughout the first quarter.
Unfortunately for the home team, that confidence only got them so far, as a 17-8 Miami run in the second gave the Heat a nine-point lead after 24 minutes.
By halftime, the Heat had attempted nine free throws to Milwaukee’s zero, and had taken half as many three-pointers. The Heat were the more aggressive team throughout the first half, and that theme would remain the same through the third quarter.
To start the fourth, the Bucks showed that they wouldn’t go away quietly. They began to climb back in it with transition execution, but the Heat never backed off and always played smart basketball.
The Bucks outscored Miami by three in the final period, but it proved to be way too little, way too late.
These two teams face off again April 9—a night where the Heat will have a chance to set the all-time record for consecutive wins if they continue dominating along the way.
Point Guard: Mario Chalmers
This was one of those classic games where Mario Chalmers got lost in the shuffle..
Despite shooting just 1-of-4 from behind the three-point line, the point guard never did anything to hurt the team's chances. He played well in transition, he made smart passes, and quite frankly, he knew when to get LeBron James and Chris Bosh the ball.
This game was all about Bosh, James and Dwyane Wade, and while Chalmers' game wasn't memorable, it's little things like knowing your role that help get big wins.
Chalmers finished with seven points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Shooting Guard: Dwyane Wade
Dwyane Wade began this game in aggressive fashion. He was attacking the rim and challenging the Milwaukee Bucks' defense, and while that's exactly what you want to see, it's also what caused him to leave the floor with an apparent head injury.
About halfway through the first quarter, Wade executed a spin move to perfection to get into the paint. Unfortunately, Larry Sanders was there to meet him, and a clean block up top turned into a blow straight to Wade's head.
According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Wade suffered a strained neck, but the good news is that he was back on the court in the second quarter.
Despite the injury early in the game, Wade continued to attack the rest of the way. His above-the-rim style was on full display, and in 33 minutes, he scored 20 points, shot 47 percent, grabbed seven rebounds and collected nine assists.
Small Forward: LeBron James
The Milwaukee Bucks did a decent job of bodying up LeBron James and forcing him into tough shots.
Unfortunately for the home team, their efforts proved futile, as James had the best game of anyone on the floor.
The 28-year-old forward showed, once again, on Friday that he is the best player in basketball. Whether a shot was wide-open or heavily contested, he made defenders pay on a regular basis.
He made 12 of his 24 shots and scored 28 points in 38 minutes.
James' scoring ability is near the top of the league, but nobody stuffs a stat sheet the way he does. He collected 10 rebounds and seven assists while leading this team to its 21st straight victory.
Power Forward: Udonis Haslem
Udonis Haslem struggled with the length of the Milwaukee Bucks Friday night.
On the boards, the big man ended up with a respectable showing, collecting six rebounds in 22 minutes. The problem was that he wasn't as physical as we've seen him be in the past, and he was part of the reason Ersan Ilyasova recorded 17 rebounds.
Offensively, Haslem was virtually invisible. He didn't score a single point, but he also took just one shot throughout the course of the contest.
You'd like to see Haslem find more success, but on a night where the stars took over, you can handle a quiet showing from the starting power forward.
Center: Chris Bosh
Chris Bosh was on fire Friday night, and there's simply no other way to put it.
Bosh's jump shot is his best asset on offense, and that's the exact weapon he used to take advantage of Larry Sanders. He was hitting from all over the floor, and with Sanders being such a great shot-blocker, he kept him quiet by taking him out of the paint.
Around the seven-minute mark of the third period, Bosh converted a four-point play to give him his 26th point. He went on to finish with 28 on the night, while shooting 12-of-16 from the floor.
Defensively, Bosh played well. Sanders is extremely raw on offense, which made it easy for the Heat center to contain him, but his effort in closing out every shot is what forced Sanders to go just 2-of-9 in 28 minutes.
Sixth Man: Ray Allen
Ray Allen was another victim of the red-hot stars in this one, but like Mario Chalmers, he helped the team out by sticking to his role.
If Allen's only job coming into this game was to spread the floor, he succeeded. He never truly found the stroke, as he made just two of his seven attempts, but he kept the Milwaukee Bucks honest by making one from deep early.
The Big Three were always the focal point of the offense, but Allen was in the right place at all times. If the situation had called for it, he would have been ready, so you can't blame him too much for simply watching the stars do what they do best.
The one area where Allen could have improved was on defense. He was matched up against J.J. Redick for much of his 27 minutes, and he had a tough time closing out behind the arc.
We all know who the stars of this team are, but solid bench production is always welcomed.
On the night, the Miami Heat's second unit went for 24 points on 46.7-percent shooting. The reserves put together a good game statistically, but what you like to see just as much is consistent effort.
Chris Andersen did a good job—as he always does—giving this team energy off the bench. He was guilty of trying to make plays when he should have passed the ball, but his defensive efforts were infectious among his teammates.
Being vocal is also important when the bench players hit the floor, and Shane Battier emerged as a leader in that sense.
Although Ray Allen didn't have his best night shooting the ball, the reserves, as a whole, played an efficient game. Efficiency is all you can ask for from this unit, and it complemented the starters nicely from start to finish.