Published March 26, 2010
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Dwyane Wade had 30 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, leading the Miami Heat to an 87-74 victory over Milwaukee on Friday night in a game overshadowed when Bucks forward Carlos Delfino was taken from the court on a stretcher after a blow to the head.
Heat center Jermaine O'Neal also left in the first quarter after hyperextending his right knee.
Delfino's frightening injury happened late in the first half. After driving to the basket for a layup, he stumbled and landed face down in the lane. In the ensuing scramble for the ball, the 6-foot-8, 235-pound Udonis Haslem jumped up, grabbed the rebound and inadvertently landed on the back of Delfino's head.
Delfino never appeared to move as paramedics flipped him over on his back and carefully strapped him to a back board. Paramedics crossed the Argentinean's arms, but he made no obvious gestures while the crowd chanted his name.
About 45 minutes later, the team said Delfino was moving all extremities and was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays because of pain in his head and jaw. The Bucks briefly prayed at halfcourt after the game.
It was supposed to be a highly contested matchup between the fifth- and sixth-place teams in the Eastern Conference, but Bucks center Andrew Bogut was already out with a sore back and Delfino's injury tempered the enthusiasm of the Bradley Center crowd.
Miami may have suffered a serious blow, too.
O'Neal had to be helped off the court when he hurt himself in what appeared to be a non-contact situation after being whistled for traveling. He hopped awkwardly, took a half-step and fell to the court midway through the first quarter. After he briefly tried to sit up, Quentin Richardson and Wade called urgently for the trainers.
The entire team and coaching staff surrounded O'Neal while a trainer bent and stretched O'Neal's right knee. O'Neal walked gingerly to the bench, where he spent the rest of the half rubbing his knee cap and cheering his teammates on.
He did not return.
Milwaukee has lost two in a row after a 15-2 stretch, while Miami has now won four straight and 10 of the last 13 to move within a game of the Bucks in the standings.
Wade, who shot 13 of 39 in two previous games against the Bucks this season and missed a third, caught fire from the start in the arena where he launched his stellar college career at Marquette.
Without Bogut roaming down low, Wade took advantage, slashing to the basket and pulling up and knocking down jumpers at will. He finished with at least 30 points for the 22nd time this season on 9-of-14 shooting after hitting his first five attempts, and Miami built a 15-point lead just after Delfino's injury.
Haslem tied a career high with 18 rebounds and added 10 points.
John Salmons bounced back from his worst game since being acquired by the Bucks at the trading deadline with 23 points, but the Bucks, who were trying to sweep the season series for the first time in 19 years, appeared to be distracted as the Heat opened up a 22-point, second-half lead.
Milwaukee went on a 13-1 run to cut it to 65-55 in the waning moments of the third quarter, but the Heat pulled away from there.
NOTES: Bucks F Ersan Ilyasova (flu) also didn't play. ... Bogut wasn't at the arena, opting for off-site treatment on his back. ... Milwaukee has gone 8 of 48 from 3-point range in the last two games. ... Wade got a raucous cheer during pregame introductions. Wade led Marquette to the Final Four seven years ago and he's honored with a banner that hangs just over the visitor's bench in the Bradley Center.