MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just hours after Miami Heat superstar LeBron James said the team’s defense was playing like *expletive*; the Heat put together a solid all-around performance Tuesday night to blow out the Milwaukee Bucks, 118-95.

It was one of the first times in recent weeks that the Heat looked like they were interested in playing the game. James put the team on his back and scored 33 points on 13-21 shooting, including a barrage of three-pointers in the third quarter to lead Miami.

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James’ performance may begin to quell the fears of the two-time defending MVP suffering from back problems early in the season.

“It’s getting better,” James said. “It feels a lot better. Still a little sore … getting a lot of work put on it so I can get to 100 percent. But it’s getting better every day and that’s a good thing.”

Michael Beasley scored 19 points and Mario Chalmers finished with 15 points and seven assists for the Heat, whose biggest victory margin before Tuesday was a 12-point triumph over Chicago on opening night. Chris Bosh scored 10 for Miami (5-3).

Miami played without Udonis Haslem (back) and Ray Allen (ill). Shane Battier started in Haslem’s place.

While a win is a win, it was against a woeful Bucks team and the Heat still need to turn up the defensive pressure to begin instilling fear in opponents this season.

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The Heat have scored at least 100 points in every game this season, but the team was also giving up around 100 points per game, which is a far cry from the defensive juggernaut that head coach Erik Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley want to see.

“There were still some areas we definitely need to improve on, in terms of the details and discipline,” Spoelstra said. “But at least the effort, the effort, the activity was better, the disposition right from the beginning and it carried through once we got into the rotation.”

Milwaukee shot only 35 percent in the first three quarters, before scoring 33 points against an array of what largely was Heat second- and third-teamers in the final 12 minutes.

“It’s been a long 48 hours in this building, but at least we were able to respond with a better game,” Spoelstra said. “And I think our guys felt better looking each other in the eye in the locker room tonight.”

The Heat are off for the next two nights before playing back-to-back games against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday and the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night.

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