"It's almost like a blessing in disguise to get on the road
because it's a better challenge and we can get away from all the
distractions in Miami," Riley said.
Though all that bonding could get costly, as Riley found out
when he ate lunch with a few of his players earlier in the day.
"I paid my bill and I went up to the room and got a telephone
call from the waitress," Riley said smiling and declining to name
the culprits. "They're all pretty cheap guys to stiff a
Wade and Payton exposed Milwaukee's lack of perimeter defense,
combining to go 17-for-26 from the field.
"Dwyane went after mismatches," Payton said. "He posted me up
a lot. He spotted up and hit a couple of 3s. That's all we did --
play the mismatches."
Michael Redd scored 24 points and T.J. Ford had 17 for
Milwaukee, but they were dominated by the bigger and stronger Heat
backcourt without fellow guard Mo Williams (thigh bruise) to
Ford was forced to play every minute except the final one, and
the lack of depth showed in Milwaukee's shooting.
Leading the league with a 43 percent clip from 3-point range,
the Bucks missed their first 12 before Redd hit with 3:07 left in
the third quarter to cut Miami's lead to 66-59.
"We try to live by that," Redd said of the 3s.
But the Bucks couldn't.
Milwaukee, which also didn't have shooting guard Bobby Simmons
(shoulder) due to an injury, finished 3-for-21 from behind the arc
and failed to showcase the speed its used on a three-game winning
"We got a break tonight. Bobby Simmons is a great player -- Mo
Williams -- those two guys would have created a lot of problems for
us," Riley said. "The thing about a speed team, if you can see
them walking up and down the court, you've done something."
Payton's 3-pointer midway through the third gave Miami a 61-50
lead, and Antoine Walker extended it to 82-68 with 8:28 left in the
fourth when Wade whipped a behind the back pass for the layup.
Milwaukee never got closer than eight in the fourth as Payton
found Wade on a backdoor cut for another easy basket to make it
93-80 with 3:07 left.
"We knocked it down to eight or nine points, but that was it,"
Redd said. "They hit shots and we couldn't."
Shaquille O'Neal, who playfully tossed snowballs before entering
the arena in his third game back from injury, finished with 13
points and six rebounds in 26 minutes. He was saddled with early
foul trouble, including two on back-to-back trips down the floor in
the first quarter, in his second game back after missing 18 with a
"I was too aggressive and committed too many silly fouls,"
O'Neal said. "Everybody else stepped up and played well."
O'Neal was quickly replaced with Alonzo Mourning, who blocked
three shots in his first five minutes, matching his league-leading
average. Mourning finished with four blocks.
The Bucks didn't look like they were going to be an easy
opponent early, jumping out to a double-digit lead during a 13-0
It wouldn't last.
Riley, who won 100-97 over Chicago on Tuesday night in his
return to the bench, looked disgusted with his team's play in the
first quarter and threw his hands up after a quick whistle against
Riley said before the game he's learned to be more patient and
that some of his more well-known habits -- like four-hour
shootarounds -- aren't likely to happen anymore.
"It's him," Payton said of the team's play the last two
nights. "He brought his system here, and he wanted us to run. Most
of the guys on this team want to run."
Milwaukee is now 10-2 against Eastern Conference opponents.
... Williams and Simmons are day-to-day. .. During introductions,
Walker and Mourning were announced as starters instead of actual
starters James Posey and O'Neal. ... Riley calls O'Neal and
Mourning a two-headed center and referred to them in pre-game as
"SoZo." ... Bucks G Charlie Bell will be out six to eight weeks
with a sprained MCL in his right knee that occurred Monday.