Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/14

Game 1: Sunday, November 14th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 17th
Game 3: Wednesday, December 8th
Game 4: Monday, March 14th

Heat 101

(13-7, 7-4 away)

Bucks 96

(5-11, 4-4 home)

    7:00 PM ET, December 8, 2004

    BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 24 14 32 31101
    MIL 17 24 22 3396

    Top Performers

    Mia: U. Haslem 20 Pts, 13 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Blk

    Mil: K. Gill 14 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl

    Foul-plagued Shaq comes through late

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Even while spending most of the game disagreeing with the referees, Shaquille O'Neal was still the difference for the Miami Heat.

    Despite playing just 21 minutes because of foul trouble, O'Neal scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter Wednesday night, leading the Heat to a 101-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

    "Obviously the referees don't agree, but it's so tough with Shaq," Miami coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They can hold him coming across the lane and then he gets the ball to make his move (and is called for a foul). Yeah, he's frustrated. He just basically had to fight his way across the lane."

    O'Neal wasn't available for comment after the game.

    Udonis Haslem made all 12 of his free throws to finish with 20 points for Miami, which improved to 11-2 against the Eastern Conference. Dwyane Wade had 17 points and 10 assists, and Eddie Jones also scored 17 points.

    "Without the big fellow in the game, we executed," Haslem said. "Sometimes without the big fellow in the game we tend to get out of whack or out of our system."

    Desmond Mason led Milwaukee with 19 points.

    "We just couldn't take advantage (with Shaq out)," Milwaukee coach Terry Porter said. "We had good opportunities but we just couldn't score."

    O'Neal, who had 12 points when he picked up his fifth foul with 8:23 left, finished with six rebounds and four turnovers.

    "I thought it was a great win because it's easy when things go smoothly as they did in Utah most of the game," Van Gundy said. "But tonight, Shaq could never get in the flow of the game, although getting 18 points in 21 minutes is not a bad flow for the way that game went. We didn't even get to play him."

    O'Neal played just 12 minutes in the first three quarters. After picking up his fourth foul with 8:03 left in the third quarter, O'Neal went to the bench for the rest of the period.

    Less than a minute later, he argued the call with referee Ken Mauer. The official asked O'Neal to repeat himself and the center replied, "You heard me." Mauer then gave him a technical with 7:21 remaining.

    When O'Neal returned with 5:58 left, Miami led 78-72. A free throw by Mo Williams cut Miami's lead to 87-83 with 1:51 remaining, but that was as close as Milwaukee got.

    Haslem made two free throws and Jones hit a 3-pointer to give Miami a 92-83 lead with 52.6 seconds left, sealing the win.

    "To be honest, and I told them this afterward, I didn't think it was our best we've played by any means, but that's the best I've felt about our team the entire season," Van Gundy said. "Because that was a very, very frustrating game and a hard one to win on the road the way things were going. We hung in there and got it done." ^Notes:@ After O'Neal got his shot blocked by Dan Gadzuric, the big center tumbled to the baseline floor and landed next to the legs of a small child midway through the first quarter. Noticing a camera was on him, O'Neal then took a sip of a soda he knocked over. ... Milwaukee's Keith Van Horn missed his third straight game because of right ankle tendinitis. ... Mason scored his 4,000th career point in the first half. ... Miami won two games in Milwaukee this year for the first time since the 1997-98 season. ... Milwaukee is 3-9 against teams currently .500 or better.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press