So when both returned to head coach Erik Spoelstra's rotation Friday
night in Milwaukee, he couldn't help but be pleased.
"We're a no-excuses team," Spoelstra said. "But we're certainly a
much better team with them out there."
They certainly were against the Bucks, as Dragic scored 12 points
and dished out eight assists in the Heat's 107-103 victory vs.
Milwaukee at the Bradley Center.
"It's a great feeling to come back and help your team," Dragic said.
Dragic did most of his offensive damage early, hitting all three of
his first quarter shots as the Heat connected on 65 percent of their
attempts and took a 33-28 lead.
Spoelsra had planned to limit Dragic's action in his first game
back, but the Slovenian wound up playing 31 minutes.
"What I tried to do was stagger his minutes so he wasn't playing
past the point of fatigue," Spoelstra said. "Every time I took him
out, he asked me 'why?' But while the minutes build up, as long as
you're fresh, they can do that for a long period of time."
The move was beneficial in the second half, as Milwaukee made a push
coming out of the break.
The Bucks trailed 55-48 at halftime but forward Giannis
Antetokounmpo knocked down all five of his shots to score 13 of his
game-high 28 points in the third quarter. Reserve guard Rashad
Vaughn hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to send Milwaukee
into the fourth up, 83-81, but the Heat came roaring back behind 10
points from Wade and eight from forward Chris Bosh, who finished
with 20 points.
"We started turning the ball over and they had the opportunities to
get the momentum back," Spoelstra said. "We showed some toughness
down the stretch and got some defensive stops, some big rebounds and
we had some physical possessions."
Wade put the dagger in Milwaukee's rally on a long step-back jumper
with 45 seconds to play, then sank four of six free throws down the
stretch to seal the victory for Miami.
"I came off and as soon as I got a little seam, I shot it off one
leg, fading back," Wade said. "I thought it was the best shot I was
going to get and it went in."
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Center Greg Monroe added 24 points for Milwaukee, which also got 17
from forward Jabari Parker. The Bucks shot 47.5 percent from the
field, but were 2-for-12 from distance and gave up 24 points on 21
"We had great effort in the second half and we did a great job on
the defensive end," Antetokounmpo said. "We were running the ball
and running transition points. But our effort wasn't enough it was
one of those games where you just had to take care of the ball."
Along with Wade, Bosh and Dragic, the Heat also got 16 points from
Luol Deng and 12 from center Amar'e Stoudemire, marking the first
time since Nov. 17 that all five Miami starters scored in double
"We stuck with it and we've been able to win three in a row," Wade
said. "Believing in each other, believing in our game and prepping
very well. Now you get healthy bodies back and your confidence
NOTES: Miami got F Josh McRoberts back for the first time in nearly
two months. He hadn't played since Dec. 7 because of a bone bruise
on a knee. McRobers scored 2 points and had a rebound and 2 assists
in 16 minutes of action. ... C Hassan Whiteside remained sidelined
for a fourth straight game with a strained oblique. Spoelstra said
he'd keep F-C Amar'e Stoudemire in the starting lineup until
Whiteside returned. ... Bucks SG O.J. Mayo began working out with
the team but is still unable to play as he recovers from a sore
hamstring. ... Milwaukee had won its last four home games, marking
the team's longest home winning streak of the season. ... The Bucks
had won five in a row over the Heat. ... SG Dwyane Wade's 24 points
marked the third consecutive game that he's led Miami in scoring.
He's also scored 10 or more points in the fourth quarter of each of
those contests. ... Bucks C Greg Monroe has score 20 points or more
in a career-high five consecutive games.
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