Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Bucks 71

(25-37, 7-24 away)

Heat 110

(49-16, 28-5 home)

7:30 PM ET, March 14, 2005

AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

1 2 3 4 T
MIL 22 15 19 1571
MIA 29 31 32 18110

Top Performers

Mil: M. Fizer 11 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

Mia: D. Wade 29 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

Miami (49-16) in step with Suns and Spurs (48-15)

MIAMI (AP) -- Dwyane Wade's first two baskets were high-flying dunks off long alley-oop passes from Damon Jones.

Fitting, because the Miami Heat are absolutely soaring.

Wade scored 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting in just 26 minutes, Shaquille O'Neal added 21 points and the Heat led by as many as 40 points in their 110-71 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night -- a win that moved Miami into a virtual tie with Phoenix and San Antonio for the league's best record.

"Everyone's clicking at the right time," Wade said. "Our teamwork is great, and it's coming together at the right time -- right before the playoffs."

It was the third-largest victory margin in franchise history for Miami (49-16), which has won a league-best nine straight overall, 13 in a row at home. Phoenix and San Antonio are both 48-15. San Antonio routed New Orleans on Monday night, and Phoenix was idle.

"I wouldn't say I'm impressed," said O'Neal, whose team can clinch a playoff spot by beating the New York Knicks on Tuesday. "I'd just say that the job is not done. It's not even almost done."

Perhaps, but securing the top seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs appears to be little more than a formality.

The Heat aren't just beating teams these days -- they're turning games into routs. Miami has held leads of at least 17 points in each of its last eight games, and has won its last nine by an average of 17.6 points.

Damon Jones added 15 points for Miami, which won its three previous meetings with Milwaukee this season by an average of merely 4.3 points. Eddie Jones had 10 for the Heat, 8½ games ahead of Detroit in the East race.

"I've never experienced anything like this before," Eddie Jones said. "I just think it's great. If we can continue to do that, that's great. All we're going to do is continue to get better if we do that."

Michael Redd had 14 points for Milwaukee, which lost for the eighth time in its last 10 road games. Marcus Fizer added 11 for the Bucks.

The Heat have held six of their last seven opponents to 90 points or less; Milwaukee shot just 32.1 percent, while the Heat shot 55.4 percent.

"We didn't execute at all," Bucks forward Desmond Mason said after his team endured its largest loss of the season. "We didn't step up and play basketball. You can rank tonight as one of our worst outings."

Miami led 21-19 late in the first quarter, before pulling away with a 17-7 run over a 5-minute stretch. Wade had 11 of Miami's points during the burst, including a three-point play and a jumper a 27-second span to give the Heat a 38-26 lead with 9:25 left in the half.

Wade had 21 points at that point, only five fewer than Milwaukee.

He didn't score again in the half; Miami didn't need him to, either.

The Heat closed the half on a 9-0 run to build a 60-37 lead, and the outcome was never again in doubt. Miami shot 60.5 percent in the half compared to Milwaukee's 31.6 percent, and the 23-point lead was the Heat's second-largest at the break this season.

"I thought we'd respond with a better effort," Bucks coach Terry Porter said. "We've always been a team that for the most part has responded well. And that's what's disappointing."

Alonzo Mourning's jumper with 7:53 left gave Miami a 102-62 lead, matching the Heat's largest margin of the season; they led New Orleans by 40 points in January. Mourning had eight points in 9 minutes -- his best totals since rejoining the Heat.

"I thought we played all the way through," Heat coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It was a pretty dominating performance at both ends of the floor."

Game notes

The 39-point loss matched the sixth-largest in Bucks history. ... Miami's previous biggest margin this season was 29, against New Orleans on Jan. 23. ... Miami will try to tie its franchise record of 14 straight home wins on Thursday night against the Lakers. ... Milwaukee was looking for a season-best fourth straight game of 100 or more points. ... Wade hit his only 3-point try; he's 6-for-22 this season. Many of those have been desperation heaves at ends of periods. ... Tuesday is the Heat's first game with New York since forward Malik Rose was acquired at the trade deadline by the Knicks. O'Neal said he knows what's coming. "He does what everybody else does. Grab, foul and hope that the ref doesn't call it," O'Neal said. ... Scottie Pippen and Desmond Howard were in the crowd. ... Mason scored seven points for Milwaukee; he's battling a strained left abdominal muscle.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 71 110
FGM-FGA 25-78 (.321) 41-74 (.554)
3PM-3PA 4-15 (.267) 5-14 (.357)
FTM-FTA 17-21 (.810) 23-35 (.657)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-38 7-47
Assists 9 24
Turnovers 12 8
Steals 3 8
Blocks 3 6
Fast Break Points 9 22
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 18 (1/0)
Largest Lead 0 40

Top Performers

Marcus Fizer Fizer
Points: 11
Reb: 7
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Dwyane Wade Wade
Points: 29
Reb: 3
Ast: 4
Stl: 2
Blk: 0