Milwaukee, WI – The Miami Heat are making it fairly clear that they aren't too intimidated by the Milwaukee Bucks.
LeBron James scored 22 points, Chris Bosh posted a double-double and Ray Allen became the all-time postseason leader in 3-pointers as Miami took a stranglehold of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with a 104-91 victory over Milwaukee on Thursday.
The Heat came out of the gate slow, but won the second half by a 56-41 margin and now have put the Bucks on the brink of elimination by taking a 3-0 series lead.
James was 9-of-14 from the field and Bosh tallied 16 points with 14 rebounds. Allen was 5-for-8 from beyond the arc en route to 23 points to surpass Reggie Miller for most 3-pointers made in NBA playoff history.
"We don't take him for granted," said Miami coach Erik Spoelstra about Allen. "To have somebody of his caliber and his resume coming off the bench is significant."
Dwyane Wade had a poor shooting night, going just 1-for-12 from the field, but chipped in with 11 assists, nine rebounds and five steals in the victory.
The Bucks once again got very little from their two best players, with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis combining for 23 points on 7-of-24 shooting. Milwaukee was also doomed by 20 turnovers.
"They're a good team and they do it in a variety of ways with a variety of players," said Bucks coach Jim Boylan. "When you have that kind of balance at any moment someone could have a big effect on the game."
Larry Sanders posted 16 points and 11 rebounds as Milwaukee fell into a three- game hole, a position that no team has ever recovered from. The Bucks will look to keep the series alive when they host the Heat in Game 4 on Sunday.
After collapsing down the stretch in Miami in Game 2, the Bucks seemed to receive a jolt from the home crowd and led for the last 18 minutes of the first half.
However, the Heat got within 50-48 at the break by closing out the second quarter on an 8-2 spurt and jumped ahead early in the third quarter after two straight buckets from Bosh.
The Bucks briefly retook the lead by converting five free throws during a 9-0 run, but mistakes began to catch up with them. Milwaukee committed six turnovers as well as a shot clock violation in the last 6:37 of the third.
Like they've done in their previous two wins, the Heat took control with a monster run. James spearheaded a quarter-closing 23-7 surge with nine points and ended it with a dish to Chris Andersen underneath for a 78-68 advantage.
Miami continued to pour it on in the fourth with the Bucks struggling to make a shot, and its lead grew to 17 after a 3-pointer from Allen less than four minutes in made the score 90-73. Milwaukee would only come as close as 11 points down during the final minute.
The Bucks began the game on fire from the field, making four 3-pointers in the last three-plus minutes of the opening frame to build a 30-21 lead.
J.J. Redick made his third triple of the game just over two minutes into the second period to keep the Bucks' lead at nine, and they would hold an advantage of at least five for the first eight minutes of the quarter. However, the lead soon began to dwindle.
Allen caught fire from downtown, burying a trio of shots from beyond the arc to cut Milwaukee's lead to two. The margin remained when James knocked down a buzzer-beating jumper from the corner to pull the Heat within 50-48 at the half.
Allen has made 322 3-pointers in the playoffs, surpassing Miller's 320 ... Miami's Mario Chalmers finished with seven points and eight assists ... The Heat have won at least one road game in nine consecutive playoff series, the longest current streak in the NBA ... Redick scored all 11 of his points in the first half.