for this game

Bench saves cold-shooting Wade as Heat top Bucks

Jan 15, 2009 - 4:53 AM By J.R. Radcliffe PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Most Milwaukee-area schools had already canceled Thursday classes before basketball began at the Bradley Center, with a wave of dangerous cold forecasted to tear through the state.

But Wednesday night belonged to the Heat.

Daequan Cook hit 6-of-7 from beyond the arc in the first half and provided four clutch free throws in the waning moments to lead the team with 24 points, as Miami withstood a late rally to thwart the Bucks, 102-99.

Dwyane Wade struggled from the field but piled up a season-high 13 assists to help the Heat win a third game in four tries.

"You guys that are there at practice have a chance to see that that's kind of normal," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Cook's performance. "He can go on runs in practice where he just does not miss.

"Even if he's covered, he's one of the most explosive shooters for a young player that I've seen. But we needed it. Dwyane was coming off a very exhausting night last night, and we needed a little bit of a punch off the bench."

The Heat hit their first eight shots from three and never registered another 3-pointer the rest of the game, concluding at 8-of-15. But Cook's first-half marksmanship allowed him to rebound from the previous night, when he finished scoreless in 11 minutes.

"I didn't play good in (Tuesday's) game," Cook said. "I was kind of slow and everything, and I wasn't into it physically or mentally. We got back to the locker room, they were making jokes about it. I just came out with a different mindset (tonight), a lot more focused."

Wade, one night after scoring 31 points in a win over the Timberwolves, shot 5-of-20 from the field and finished with 17 points, though eight of those came in the fourth quarter. He had just one basket in the first half.

"With the way that Milwaukee packs the paint, (Cook) made them pay for it with the way he shot the ball," Wade said. "We gave him a hard time for the way he played last night, but he stepped up tonight."

Michael Beasley bruised his way to 21 points, surpassing the 20-point plateau for the third time in four games. Beasley recently became the first Heat rookie to register back-to-back 20 point games since Harold Miner in 1993 before scoring 14 against Minnesota on Tuesday.

Shawn Marion registered a monster block on Richard Jefferson's attempt in the final minute with the Heat ahead by one, and Cook hit two free throws with 9.8 seconds remaining to replenish the lead to three.

Joe Alexander, whose basket with 16 seconds left allowed the Bucks to pull within a point for the first time since the first half, missed an errant 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Ridnour scored a season-high 25 points, his highest output since December 26, 2006, when he scored 27 as a member of the franchise formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics.

"We just couldn't get the stops when we needed them, and we just couldn't execute well enough," Ridnour said. "It's not one quarter, it's not one play. It's the whole game. We just didn't come with enough energy tonight."

Miami broke a 55-55 deadlock at halftime by scoring the first nine points on the second half, leading to a 64-55 advantage early in the third quarter.

Udonis Haslem finished the quarter with 10 points, and the Heat took an 80-73 edge into the final period. Haslem finished the game with 18 points and eight rebounds.

Ridnour's basket shortly before the halftime buzzer knotted the score at 55-55, the capstone to a rally that allowed Milwaukee back into the game. The Heat led by as many as 11 in the period, but the Bucks finished on a 16-5 run.

Still, Bucks coach Scott Skiles was hoping for more than the tie.

"It's a red flag," Skiles said. "When Dwyane was 1-for-8 at halftime, we had a tie game. You know at some point, he's going to come in and make a couple baskets. We did a respectable job on him again, but we were so slow to recover to the other guys and slow to recognize that they had a guy that was making multiple threes out there.

"Everybody knows (Cook's) a shooter. We've done this a little bit the last couple of weeks. Not a lot, but a little bit, where we just kind of check out of a game for a period of time and then try to check back in, and it's tough to beat decent teams."

The Bucks led almost the entire first quarter, but Miami mounted a late rally to take a 28-24 lead.

Wade missed all five of his shots from the field, but Cook hit all four 3-point attempts - including one in the final seconds - to lead the way with 12 points.

"We couldn't stay connected to him for some reason. He just kept hitting three after three," Bucks guard Michael Redd said. "That's my young fellow from Ohio State, but tonight that was my enemy. We didn't do a good job on him, and we didn't do a good job on Beasley, and those two guys hurt us."

The Heat committed six turnovers in the opening quarter but outrebounded Milwaukee, 12-7.

  • 81
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Heat 102, Bucks 99  FinalJan 15 5:02 PM

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