Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 1/9

Game 1: Friday, January 9th
Game 2: Sunday, February 29th
Game 3: Thursday, March 4th

Heat 94

(15-21, 4-15 away)

Bucks 103

(20-16, 13-4 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 9, 2004

    BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIA 21 15 27 3194
    MIL 22 33 23 25103

    Top Performers

    Mia: L. Odom 22 Pts, 15 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mil: T. Kukoc 24 Pts, 14 Reb, 5 Ast

    Kukoc posts double-double for Bucks

    MILWAUKEE (AP)-- Toni Kukoc said his best game of the season was simply a matter of taking what was available.

    "Just the flow of the game, everything was pretty much right," he said Friday night after scoring 24 points, adding a career-high 14 rebounds and keying a decisive second-period surge that helped the Milwaukee Bucks to a 103-94 victory over the Miami Heat.

    Bucks coach Terry Porter had a more emphatic statement on Kukoc's play.

    "He was huge for us," Porter said. "I went to him a lot."

    Heat coach Stan Van Gundy was no less impressed.

    "Kukoc was great. He got rolling and once he got rolling he's pretty darn good," Van Gundy said. "He's a tough matchup for anybody. He's a heck of a player."

    The result of Kukoc's big game was that the Bucks won five in a row for the first time this season, climbed to four games over .500 (20-16) for the first time since last Feb. 14 and won their eighth straight home game.

    For Milwaukee, Michael Redd added 18 points, Tim Thomas 15 and T. J. Ford 14.

    The Heat, who lost for the third time in four games, were led by Lamar Odom with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Rafer Alston had 17 points and Eddie Jones 15 and a season-high 11 assists. The Heat have now lost four straight games to the Bucks going back to last season.

    It was the Bucks' eighth victory in 10 games since Kukoc came off the injured list Dec. 20 following a bout with back spasms, and he was never more helpful than in the second quarter.

    Kukoc poured in 14 points as the Bucks pulled away from the Heat to lead 55-36 at halftime.

    After a basket by Rasual Butler pulled the Heat within two points, Kukoc had four points in a 10-0 run that put Milwaukee on top 35-23 and he kept making baskets to help the Bucks to a dominating halftime advantage.

    "When you hit a couple shots, then the guy's got to play you closer. Then you have the chance to penetrate, get to the free-throw line. That's what happened," Kukoc said of why he got hot so quickly.

    Milwaukee led 78-63 after three periods, but Miami came roaring back in the final quarter, cutting the deficit to 90-83 on a 3-pointer by Jones with just over five minutes left. Kukoc then responded with a three of his own and the Heat never got that close again.

    "They just made a lot of shots, their offense was really going for them and we couldn't find the answer for them. We need to bring the energy we had in the second half with us in the first half," said Caron Butler, who helped spark the comeback with a pair of 3-pointers.

    Game notes

    Heat rookie Dwayne Wade returned to the Bradley Center where he starred for Marquette, but he did not play because of a wrist injury. In a halftime ceremony, Wade received his ring from college coach Tom Crean for helping Marquette to last season's Conference USA championship. ..... In the second period, Kukoc made 5-of-7 shots from the field and had 7 rebounds. ... Lamar Odom's first rebound of the game gave him 2,000 for his career. ... Milwaukee center Dan Gadzuric, who sprained his right knee in Wednesday night's win over Phoenix, did not play.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 94 103
    FGM-FGA 35-93 (.376) 38-77 (.494)
    3PM-3PA 7-24 (.292) 7-13 (.538)
    FTM-FTA 17-21 (.810) 20-27 (.741)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 22-49 14-47
    Assists 26 22
    Turnovers 9 10
    Steals 7 7
    Blocks 2 1
    Fast Break Points 1 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 19 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Lamar Odom Odom
    Points: 22
    Reb: 15
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Toni Kukoc Kukoc
    Points: 24
    Reb: 14
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 0