Beat the Heat: Heat 85 – Bucks 109

Miami Heat 85 FinalRecap | Box Score 109 Milwaukee Bucks
Jabari Parker, SF 29 MIN | 6-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | +14

Parker took advantage of his athleticism early against Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, cutting to the hoop for an alley-oop on the first play and soaring in for a putback dunk in short order. He scored 10 of Milwaukee’s first 22 points on 5-7 shooting, but only took two more shots the rest of the game. Parker’s explosiveness and vision in transition were again on display, capped off by his assist on Giannis’ posterization of Chris Bosh in the fourth quarter. Parker’s defensive awareness remains a work in progress, but his quick, active hands on defense have come in handy — especially with his ability to motor after forcing turnovers.

Zaza Pachulia, C 24 MIN | 2-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 4 PTS | -1

Pachulia’s eight rebounds in his spot start helped Milwaukee establish an implausible 45-20 rebounding advantage over the Heat. And as always, his passing was on point out of the post and from the elbow, where he delivered a nice alley-oop pass to Parker to commence the game. However, Bosh’s range at center exposed Pachulia’s lack of mobility on defense. Bosh found himself wide open a handful of times after Pachulia overhelped and was unable to recover on pick and pops. (Bosh finished with 21 points — albeit on 23 shots.) Pachulia also turned the ball over five times.

Brandon Knight, PG 21 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 13 PTS | +12

It wasn’t a banner night for Knight, who was plagued with foul trouble throughout the game. The refs didn’t do him any favors, especially when he picked up his fourth foul early in the third quarter after “pushing off” on a drive with scarce contact. Playing a season-low 21 minutes, Knight dished out five assists but committed five turnovers, including a couple of sloppy ones within the first two and half minutes of the game. However, as he’s wont to do, Knight made up for some of the turbulence by hitting a big three-pointer to put the Bucks up 15 with just under four minutes to go.

O.J. Mayo, SG 13 MIN | 2-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -4

Mayo struggled mightily to stay in front of Dwyane Wade defensively and picked up two early fouls, both of which likely contributed to his 13 minutes of action — the second-fewest minutes he’s played this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG 32 MIN | 3-8 FG | 8-11 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +10

For the first game in recent memory, Antetokounmpo didn’t hesitate with his jump shots. They didn’t fall, but it’s promising to see him finally giving them a go. Other than that, he simply took advantage of his height and athleticism on drives against a team that generally lacks both. He went to the line for 11 free throws, converting eight. He went coast-to-coast on that highlight move in which he takes three impossibly long strides from the arc to the rim. And he positively posterized Bosh on a baseline cut.

Khris Middleton, PF 24 MIN | 6-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +24

It appears Middleton is out of his shooting funk. He followed up his 8-13 game with a 6-9 performance, including two made three-pointers. His shooting off the bench was a big lift for the Bucks in the second quarter, when Milwaukee started to regain control of the game. He also contributed six rebounds to Milwaukee’s dominant rebounding effort.

Larry Sanders, C 18 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +15

Bucks PR initially reported Sanders was going to miss this game due to illness, but it turned out that he was available off the bench. He played admirable defense on Bosh while chipping in six points and six rebounds. At times, he still tried to do too much on offense, but he was more in control last night than previous games.

Kendall Marshall, PG 24 MIN | 7-8 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 20 PTS | +16

At first, it seemed that Marshall was simply put into the game to take advantage of his height over Shabazz Napier — like with J.J. Barea in the preceding game. And he did convert a nice push shot after posting up Napier early. But with Knight’s foul trouble, Marshall played a season-high 24 minutes and tied his career high with 20 points. He drained four out of his five three-point attempts, including one a few steps behind the arc with the shot clock winding down and a big one to put the Bucks up 11 with six minutes to go. His only miss from the field came on a heave at the end of the first quarter. And just like that, Marshall is shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from beyond the arc this season.

Nate Wolters, PG 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -1

He’s back. Thanks to Knight’s foul woes, Wolters saw brief action for the first time since Nov. 21. He had missed a handful of games due to illness during that stretch.

Jerryd Bayless, PG 29 MIN | 2-5 FG | 7-7 FT | 4 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +20

Like Mayo, Bayless couldn’t stay with Wade, who finished with 28 points. But he drew a ton of fouls in the second half, en route to seven free-throw attempts. With the ability to create his own shot, Bayless can bail out the Bucks at the end of the shot clock — something he had plenty of experience doing in Memphis — which is a skill that sets him apart from the likes of Wolters and Marshall. Also, the Bucks drew up the patented Knight-to-Bayless backdoor alley-oop in the second half, but the pass was low and picked off.

Jared Dudley, SG 21 MIN | 3-5 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +15

It was another steady performance for Dudley, who has shot 60 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from beyond the arc over the past five games.

Five Things We Saw

  1. This was perhaps Milwaukee’s most complete game — and not just because of the season-high 24-point margin. The Bucks, who are 28th in defensive rebounding percentage, outrebounded the Heat 33 to 17 on the defensive glass and 45-20 overall. They shot 56.5 percent from the floor to the Heat’s 44.1 percent. They scored 24 fast-break points to the Heat’s six. They scored 40 points in the paint to the Heat’s 26. Despite turning the ball over six more times, they scored more points off of turnovers than the Heat. And slowly, methodically they built up a huge lead in the second half.
  2. If the playoffs are your thing, this was a fairly pivotal game for the Bucks (11-10). The Bucks now play seven straight Western Conference teams, all of which have winning records sans the Thunder (who just got Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant back).
  3. Bucks coach Jason Kidd opted to go with two-point guard lineup for much of the game, with Bayless, Marshall and Wolters seeing extended action at the expense of Mayo. Perhaps that was a preconceived strategy with Miami’s relatively small, quick backcourt.
  4. Milwaukee’s Heat fan base appeared to have dissipated significantly.
  5. This poster (h/t Matt Moore

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  1. Kendall is like Jiffy Lube, because he does all the little things to help the Bucks offense run more smoothly and efficiently. With his craftsmanship at the point, and the ball moving effectively, the Bucks are energized both physically and mentally, on offense and defense, with a chemistry and cohesion that is a pleasure to behold. My hunch is that all the players look forward to being on the court with Kendall.

    It was nice to see Kendall in the game with Brandon. The important three that Brandon hit in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory, as best I can remember, came this way: Khris probes the defense near the left baseline but decides to pass it out to Kendall; Khris gets the ball right back from Kendall and goes to the hoop, passing the ball diagonally out to Brandon at the arc for an open spot-up trey — sweet! Kendall doesn’t get the assist, but he is the facilitator; he has been setting the tone of selflessness and greasing the wheels of ball movement.

    If the Bucks would just play Kendall, and Khris, and John Henson when he gets back, about 24 minutes per game, more or less, then I wouldn’t have to keep on focusing so much on them. They all are talented; they all are winners; they all have been underappreciated; they all will help the Bucks succeed!

    By the way, I do like to think that the cumulative effect of fan activity supporting players in different ways — including comments here at Bucksketball — does somehow make a difference, directly or indirectly, in helping our players to be their best. I think just about everybody appreciates and responds well to encouragement. I know I do, and I’m grateful for the people at this site who have written positive things about my comments even though generally they seem to disagree with me to a greater or lesser extent. One thing we do share: Go Bucks!!!

    • I came here KNOWING you were gonna post something like this. Totally agree with your points except saying Marshall makes an impact defensively. He just doesn’t. But I do love his facilitation offensively and like that he has that PG vision we all wish BK had! Now we both need to see our dream scenario of Henson playing 25+ a game. I think if Sanders keeps missing bunnies around the rim it can’t hurt to start John a few games to see if he can mesh with our starters. Very identical players(limited offensively, stout defensively) but John has a post move. Yeah it’s only ONE move but sanders looks tense with the ball in his hands while john is a cool customer. Let’s not forget the guy won the ACC DPOY award…..twice. Give him a shot or trade him to the lakers or something