MILWAUKEE (AP) — Dwyane Wade’s return to the lineup wasn’t nearly enough for Miami.
Brandon Jennings scored 25 points and Mike Dunleavy had 13 of his 18 in the fourth quarter as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Heat 104-85 on Saturday night.
Wade was back after serving a one-game suspension for flailing his leg and making contact with guard Ramon Sessions’ groin during the Heat’s 105-92 victory over Charlotte on Wednesday. Wade sat out Miami’s 109-99 loss to Detroit on Friday night, which snapped the Heat’s six-game winning streak.
“Obviously, the last 48 hours has not gone the way we wanted it to,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We don’t want to make any excuses about it. Milwaukee kicked our butt. They were the better team tonight. We will gather ourselves, get to Orlando and start to work on it.”
Wade had 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting, four assists, six rebounds and three turnovers. LeBron James scored 26 as Miami failed to reach 100 points for just the third time in 28 games.
“It’s going to take time,” Wade said. “We go through this every year. It’s a part of the journey. You have to have these moments throughout the season. To win later in the year, you have something to pull from.”
The Bucks improved to 16-12, their best 28-game start since opening the 2005-06 season 17-11. Miami (20-8) fell to 6-6 on the road.
Wade said the Heat would love to be undefeated on the road, but that isn’t going to happen.
“In the bigger picture, you have to go through these tough moments and have to figure it out as a team,” he said. “That’s what we’re doing right now.”
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 19 points for the Bucks, and Larry Sanders had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Monta Ellis added 14 points as Milwaukee avenged a 113-106 overtime loss to the Heat in Miami on Nov. 21.
Dunleavy also had nine rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Bucks, who outscored Miami 35-14 in the fourth.
After Jennings hit a 3-pointer, Miami called a timeout and removed Wade, James and Chris Bosh with the Bucks ahead 100-79 with 3:13 to play. That was Milwaukee’s biggest lead and it didn’t slip below 17 the rest of the way.
Bosh had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Heat, who came in averaging 103.4 points a game while the Bucks were at 95.6.
It got chippy late in the game with Milwaukee pulling away.
After Wade turned the ball over, Jennings picked it up and raced down the court. Mario Chalmers, trailing the play, caught up with Jennings and then slowed him down by wrapping his right arm around Jennings’ neck. As momentum carried Chalmers toward the baseline, Jennings followed after him, glaring all the way.
Chalmers was called for a flagrant foul. Jennings made both free throws and Milwaukee retained the ball. Moments later, Mbah a Moute scored and the Bucks led 92-76.
The Bucks regained their shooting touch and the lead with a 16-0 spurt that bridged the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth. Mbah a Moute capped the surge with a 3 that gave Milwaukee an 84-75 lead. When Sanders dunked and then spun around James on the baseline for a layup, Milwaukee led 88-76 with 6:03 left.
Miami’s defense limited the Bucks’ shooting percentage, but turnovers were too much to overcome.
“They shot 40 percent from the floor, but we turned the ball over 20-plus times and they got over 20-plus points off those turnovers,” James said. “That’s not going to be winning basketball.”
James had a team-high six turnovers out of the 21 that led to 25 points for Milwaukee. The Heat shot 43.3 percent (33 of 76).
“I had six turnovers and I can’t stand when I turn the ball over,” James said. “When you’re on the road against a team that is sound defensively, you can’t give them extra possessions because they’re going to make you pay.”
James led the way as Miami erased a 15-point deficit, outscoring the Bucks 27-13 in the third to take a 71-69 lead into the fourth. James scored 14 points in that quarter while Milwaukee missed 17 of its first 19 shots.
“The second half we came out a little stagnant,” Dunleavy said. “We stopped pushing the ball and getting out in transition.”
Fortunately for the Bucks, they got going late in the third and kept it up all through the fourth.
“A few minutes to go in the third, we were moving the ball up and down, getting some stops,” Dunleavy said. “Just kept going, building on the lead.”
After leading 56-44 at halftime, Milwaukee missed its first 12 shots in the second half, six of them by Ellis, while the Heat pulled to 56-55. Jennings hit a 14-foot jumper to snap the streak, but James hit a 3 to tie the game and a jumper that gave Miami its first lead, 60-58.
“Then we came out to start the third and missed a couple layups and some shots, but also just kind of started walking up and down the floor,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “That’s really not our game.”
Jennings had 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting, six assists and three steals in the first half.
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