Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/5

Game 1: Saturday, November 5th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 14th
Game 3: Tuesday, December 27th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 4th

Bucks 89

(37-37, 14-23 away)

Heat 115

(49-25, 29-7 home)

7:30 PM ET, April 4, 2006

AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL

1 2 3 4 T
MIL 14 29 26 2089
MIA 31 24 34 26115

Top Performers

Milwaukee: C. Bell 29 Pts, 3 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

Miami: S. O'Neal 24 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast, 4 Blk

Shaq's 24 points, 10 rebounds lead Heat past Bucks

MIAMI (AP) -- As Pat Riley requested, the Miami Heat gave Dwyane Wade plenty of help.

Shaquille O'Neal had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and five other Miami players reached double figures as the Heat defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 115-89 on Tuesday night to maintain control of the race for the Eastern Conference's second-best record.

Udonis Haslem scored 16 points and Wade had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists before sitting out the final 11½ minutes for Miami, which shot 62 percent and won for only the fourth time in eight games.

"That's one of the better games, more complete games that we've played in a long time," Riley said after his team opened with a 13-0 run and never trailed.

Wade accounted for 41 percent of Miami's offense in its previous three games. But with the Heat securing control early, Wade needed to take only 10 shots -- his third-lowest total of the season.

"It was a matter of everybody moving the ball and getting everybody involved," Wade said. "Defensively, everybody making the rotations and rebounding the ball. If we continue to do this, we'll be all right."

Charlie Bell had 20 of his season-high 29 points in the first half for Milwaukee, which came in averaging 110.8 points in its previous five outings. Michael Redd had 16 points and Toni Kukoc added 13 for the Bucks.

"It was one of those nights when nothing went right," Bell said. "We tried to get back in the game. We just didn't have it in the tank."

Miami (49-25) stayed 3½ games ahead of New Jersey (45-28, a winner of 13 straight) and four games ahead of Cleveland (45-29) for the East's second-best record behind Detroit, which has locked the top seed.

The Heat have eight regular-season games left, including a Thursday visit by the Pistons; Cleveland and New Jersey have eight and nine games left, respectively.

"It's in our hands," Riley said. "I'm not looking at numbers. I'm not looking at who we're playing. It's in our hands."

Milwaukee (37-37), which fell to 3-11 against the East's top four teams, remained sixth in the conference, 1½ games behind fifth-place Washington and one game up on idle Indiana.

"They have their eyes on a championship and set the tone early," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "They went to Shaquille. They played off of him. They made a concerted effort to get more people involved."

And that is exactly what Riley has been pleading for.

Antoine Walker and Derek Anderson each had 14 points for Miami, which also got 13 from Gary Payton. The Heat shot 72 percent in the first quarter, 80 percent in the third, outrebounded the Bucks 44-32 and outscored Milwaukee 52-30 from inside the lane.

"When we play like that, the outcome is usually like this," O'Neal said. "When we don't play like this, the outcome is usually different. ... We should already have this mastered, but we let a lot of games slip away. But it's no time to worry and no time to panic. We've just got to keep playing like this."

Miami scored the first 13 points, its best start of the season. The Heat led by 17 after one and were up 33-14 early in the second period.

But behind Bell, the Bucks hung around for a while.

He replaced starter Bobby Simmons 42 seconds into the game and sizzled, going 7-for-10 from the floor and 6-for-7 from 3-point range in the first half. Bell and Kukoc each hit 3-pointers to highlight a 10-0 Milwaukee run, drawing the Bucks within 47-40.

Miami restored a 12-point lead by intermission, with Payton getting four points in a 0.9-second span. He hit a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left, then got fouled intercepting a long pass and made one free throw for a 55-43 Miami advantage.

The Heat lead was never less than 20 in the final 15½ minutes.

Game notes

The Bucks, who had two turnovers in their last 61:18 coming in, made two in the first 2:23. ... Milwaukee made more 3-pointers (eight) in the first half than 2-pointers (seven). ... Wade (1,267) moved into third place on Miami's all-time assist list, passing Sherman Douglas (1,262). ... Miami was again without starters James Posey (right Achilles' tendinitis) and Jason Williams (right knee tendinitis). Walker and Payton took their places. ... Bell's total is the highest any reserve has managed against Miami this season. ... The Heat led entering the second quarter for the first time in five games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 89 115
FGM-FGA 30-71 (.423) 45-73 (.616)
3PM-3PA 9-19 (.474) 5-10 (.500)
FTM-FTA 20-29 (.690) 20-33 (.606)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-32 7-44
Assists 14 25
Turnovers 14 16
Steals 11 8
Blocks 2 5
Fast Break Points 16 12
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 26 (0/0) 24 (0/0)
Largest Lead 0 26

Top Performers

Charlie Bell Bell
Points: 29
Reb: 3
Ast: 1
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
Points: 24
Reb: 10
Ast: 4
Stl: 0
Blk: 4