Miami, FL – LeBron James had 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and led the Miami Heat to a 94-83 win against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.
Despite not having Dwyane Wade (ankle) and Chris Bosh (knee), James, who made his second straight start after missing three games due to a tight hamstring, still powered his team to victory. Norris Cole and Ray Allen scored 11 points apiece off the bench and Udonis Haslem recorded a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
"We'll take it," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "A lot of guys contributed. The second half was good. So, the train keeps on moving. We'll jump on a plane and do this again tomorrow night hopefully."
The win gives the Heat their 61st of the season, tying the single-season franchise record set by the 1996-97 team. Miami has already clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference standings and is four wins ahead of the Spurs for the best record in the league with five games left on the schedule.
Brandon Jennings scored a game-high 30 points, but was the only Milwaukee player to score double-digits. The Bucks have lost three of their last four games.
"We turned the ball over and that is what really hurt us," said Bucks coach Jim Boylan. "They (Miami) are a team that takes those turnovers and turns them into quick points. When we play them we haev to take care of the basketball and we didn't do a godd job of that tonight."
The Bucks have already clinched a playoff berth, but the loss now puts them three games behind the Celtics for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference with five games left.
Milwaukee faced a double-digit deficit in the first quarter, but a pair of 3-pointers by Jennings brought late in the frame brought the Bucks within four, 25-21, before a technical free throw by Allen ended the period.
Miami extended its lead once again but Milwaukee slowly made its way back. They would take a 46-45 lead after a jumper by Ersan Ilyasova, but that lasted just 13 seconds, as James sank two free throws and the Heat had a 47-46 edge at halftime.
The Bucks would take the lead one more time just 19 seconds into the third, but James' jumper 24 seconds later ended it. James scored seven unanswered points before Jennings' trey interrupted the run.
Milwaukee scored just 13 points on 23.5 percent shooting in the period, including 1-of-8 from behind the arc.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Heat had a 71-59 advantage.
The Heat gave ample playing time to their bench players in the fourth. The Bucks outscored them, 24-23, but weren't able to mount a comeback.
James shot 11-of-16 on the floor ... Haslem's 15 rebounds are a season-high ... Chris Andersen grabbed nine boards off the bench ... The Heat made all 10 of their free throw attempts ... Monta Ellis had six turnovers ... Miami won the season series, 2-1.