8:00 PM ET, February 1, 2012
BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
MILWAUKEE -- The Miami Heat have the stars, the sun and South Beach.
Somehow, the Milwaukee Bucks have bragging rights.
Brandon Jennings scored 31 points, including three 3-pointers in a critical stretch of the fourth quarter, and Milwaukee beat Miami 105-97 on Wednesday night for the Bucks' second win over the Heat this season.
Even on a huge night for LeBron James -- he scored a season-high 40 points, including a powerful windmill dunk destined for the highlight reels -- Jennings and the Bucks walked away with a win.
And, apparently, a little bit of admiration from James.
"Me and LeBron looked at each other," Jennings said. "I said, '40?' He said, 'You've got 31, though.'"
Jennings also had eight assists with no turnovers while Drew Gooden added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Bucks, who have won three straight -- including a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers last Saturday.
The Bucks also beat the Heat 91-82 in Miami on Jan. 22.
James had 24 points in the first quarter, the most points any player has scored in a quarter this season, according to STATS LLC. But he went cold in the second half.
"You always give credit where credit is due," James said. "They made some shots in the third quarter and fourth quarter. They got back into it. They made a run. We held it as much as possible."
Dwyane Wade added 23 points for the Heat, but it wasn't enough.
"What that second half showed is we still have a long way to go as a ballclub just in terms of playing consistently," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We were playing very good basketball in the first half. It's a fragile game. In this league it can go the other way quickly if you're not staying consistent to your identity."
Bucks fans chanted "overrated" in the final minutes of the game.
"We can't just have an ordinary energy game, we have to have an extraordinary game against them," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "The guys came out in the second half and really took it to them."
Milwaukee trailed 60-47 at the half but closed the gap in the third quarter. The Heat went into the fourth with a 79-76 lead.
Ersan Ilyasova converted a three-point play to tie the score at the start of the fourth, and Jennings hit a running layup to give the Bucks an 81-79 lead with 11:06 left.
Milwaukee's fourth-quarter run continued, and the Bucks led 87-82 when Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored inside. The Heat than drew a shot-clock violation with the ball in James' hands, and Jennings hit a 3-pointer on the other end to give Milwaukee a 90-82 lead with 6:40 to go.
After a pair of free throws by Gooden, Wade missed a contested layup, and Jennings hit another 3-pointer.
James missed a long jumper -- and Jennings drilled yet another 3, giving the Bucks a 98-82 lead.
With Milwaukee later leading 101-92, James was called for traveling in transition with just over two minutes left.
James shot 5 for 12 in the second half.
"He's not easy to stop," Jennings said. "He got it going early, but I think we did a great job (in the) second half, just countering him on everything."
A large part of the credit goes to Mbah a Moute, the Bucks' defensive ace.
"It's a tough job, going against those guys," Mbah a Moute said. "But it's a fun job, too. Those guys are the best and it's always fun to play against the best."
Wednesday's game had all the makings of a Heat blowout early on, thanks to James. Already off to a sizzling start, James finished the first quarter in memorable fashion.
"The first half, it felt like LeBron was going to go for like 60 or whatever," Jennings said.
With under a minute left in the quarter, he took the ball away from Milwaukee's Beno Udrih, took a couple of steps and finished with a powerful windmill dunk with 32.9 seconds left in the quarter.
As if that wasn't enough, James then hit a 3 with 2.2 seconds left in the quarter.
James' huge dunk drew a gasp, then a roar from the crowd. It even had a pair of Bradley Center ushers recreating the dunk during the first-quarter break.
But the Heat couldn't keep the lead.
"I don't think we relaxed," Wade said. "They played well. Give them credit. I'm not taking anything away from the Bucks."
Game notesAccording to STATS, James' 24 points matches his career high in a quarter, accomplished three previous times. ... Stephen Jackson returned for the Bucks, after serving a one-game NBA suspension in Milwaukee's victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, then being benched against Detroit on Monday. Jackson played nine-plus minutes and didn't score. ... The Bucks recalled rookie guard Darington Hobson from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||34-73 (.466)||39-88 (.443)|
|3PM-3PA||9-20 (.450)||10-23 (.435)|
|FTM-FTA||20-24 (.833)||17-25 (.680)|
|Fast Break Points||14||11|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||22 (1/0)||17 (0/0)|
Next 5 Games
LeBron James: 24 points in the 1st quarter; that's the most points in a quarter by any player this season. The previous high of 22 points was held by James (1st quarter at the Nets back on January 7th).
With the game tied at 81 in the 4th quarter, the Bucks went on a 17-1 run.
NEXT LEVEL: The Miami Heat struggled in transition in two losses against the Bucks this season scoring below their average. Coming into Wednesday night, Miami led the league in points per play (1.2) and field goal percentage (64.3) in transition.[+]
Miami Heat Transition Offense
NEXT LEVEL: Miami shot 14-for-17 from the field and scored 40 points in the first quarter, thanks to LeBron James scoring the most points in a quarter by any player this season (24). The Heat entered Wednesday's game shooting 45.7 percent in the half court, good for second in the NBA. Miami continued that trend in the first quarter, but struggled rest of the game.[+]
NEXT LEVEL: LeBron James scored a season-high 40 points against the Bucks Wednesday night. After shooting 5-for-11 from inside 10 feet in the first matchup, James came back strong and shot 7-for-9 from that distance.[+]
LeBron James Shooting by Distance
NEXT LEVEL: LeBron James cut Miami's deficit to 11 after hitting a three-pointer with 3:31 left in the game against the Bucks. After Milwaukee called a timeout, James only had three touches and missed his only field goal attempt in Heat's final nine possessions. During that span, James did not score and committed a turnover.
The Heat have been held under 20 points in a quarter just 8 times this season. The Bucks held them under 20 in both the 3rd and 4th quarters Wednesday. In 4 of the 5 games in which they were held under 20 in the 4th quarter, they went on to lose the game.[+]
Lowest Scoring Quarters - Miami Heat This Season
ESPN Stats & Information