Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/19

Game 1: Tuesday, November 19th
Game 2: Tuesday, March 4th
Game 3: Sunday, March 30th
Game 4: Monday, March 31st

Bucks 100

(30-30, 13-16 away)

Heat 91

(20-40, 13-16 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 4, 2003

    AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIL 25 27 21 27100
    MIA 22 26 22 2191

    Top Performers

    Mil: S. Cassell 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast

    Mia: B. Grant 20 Pts, 12 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Guard scores 25 points in Milwaukee win

    MIAMI (AP) -- Sam Cassell did enough damage in three quarters that his team barely needed him down the stretch.

     Sam Cassell

    Cassell held the hot hand for the second straight game, scoring 25 points as the Milwaukee Bucks climbed back to .500 with a 100-91 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.

    Milwaukee moved one game ahead of Washington for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

    Cassell followed his 28-point outing Sunday against Atlanta with a strong effort against the Heat, despite not scoring in the fourth quarter. He was 9-of-14 and added five rebounds and three assists to help the Bucks win for just the third time in their last 10 games.

    While Cassell provided the offense for three quarters, the Bucks' defense took over in the fourth, holding the Heat to 8-of-29 shooting.

    "We started playing defense in the fourth quarter," Bucks guard Gary Payton said. "We didn't play defense in the third quarter. Once we started getting rebounds, it started getting a lot easier. We crowded the paint and made them shoot tough shots to see how they'll do.

    "It's all about defense, about who can stop who."

    The Heat were without leading scorer Eddie Jones, who sprained his right ankle in practice Monday and is expected to miss at least two weeks.

    Cassell had 25 points through three quarters, helping the Bucks to a 73-70 lead. That's when his teammates stepped up. Toni Kukoc drained a 3-pointer, Payton scored on a driving layup, and Ervin Johnson connected on a jump hook to push the lead to 82-72 with 7:23 left.

    The Heat, meantime, went scoreless for the first four minutes of the fourth period, missing their first five shots before Malik Allen knocked down a jumper. Miami made just two of 12 shots to open the period, falling from three points down to a 12-point deficit.

    "We were down by (three) points at the end of the third quarter," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "With the exception of when Anthony Carter was on the court, the team did not play with energy. We didn't play with the kind of energy that we need: tenacious, relentless energy to run, defend and cut. We had some guys absolutely sleepwalking for four or five minutes."

    The Heat pulled within 92-87 on Travis Best's jumper with 1:45 left, but Tim Thomas closed the door, hitting a 3-pointer with 55 seconds to go.

    Desmond Mason and Payton each scored 17 points for the Bucks.

    Brian Grant had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who have dropped seven of their last nine games. Rookie Caron Butler scored 15 points, and Allen and Eddie House each added 14.

    The Bucks, mindful of their late-season collapse last year, are aware of the importance of every game.

    "If we don't play serious basketball in March, we won't make it," Bucks coach George Karl said. "If we can get through March, with all of our road games, with a winning record, I think we will make the playoffs. But if we don't have a winning record in March, then we're going to need a hell of an April."

    Game notes
    The Bucks snapped a four-game skid against the Heat. ... With Jones out, Mike James started for just the sixth time this year for the Heat. ... The Bucks are 9-17 against in Miami. ... Allen had double-digit rebounds for the second straight game, the first time he has done that in his career. Allen finished with 12 rebounds after getting 10 against the Wizards on Sunday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 100 91
    FGM-FGA 35-75 (.467) 36-92 (.391)
    3PM-3PA 5-12 (.417) 0-7 (.000)
    FTM-FTA 25-31 (.806) 19-21 (.905)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 3-40 13-48
    Assists 15 19
    Turnovers 12 10
    Steals 5 7
    Blocks 4 5
    Fast Break Points 4 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/0) 26 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Sam Cassell Cassell
    Points: 25
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0
    Brian Grant Grant
    Points: 20
    Reb: 12
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1