MIAMI – LeBron James scored 28 points in 30 minutes, Udonis Haslem had his first double-double of the season and the Heat moved a step closer to wrapping up home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs by topping the Bucks 94-83 at the American Airlines Arena last night.
The Heat tied a franchise single-season record by winning for the 61st time, getting there with five games remaining. Miami needs only one more win or one San Antonio loss to clinch the top overall seed for the entirety of the playoffs. The defending champions (61-16) clinched the top seed in the East long ago, and will more than likely see the Bucks (37-40) when the postseason starts in about a week and a half.
Norris Cole and Ray Allen each scored 11 for the Heat, and Haslem finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds. Wade missed his fifth straight game and seventh in the past nine while dealing with ankle and knee issues, and Bosh sat out his second straight contest, though this time it was flu-like symptoms that left him sidelined, not the sore knee that kept him from participating in Saturday’s game against Philadelphia.
Brandon Jennings scored 30 points for the Bucks, who said they didn’t necessarily treat Last night as a dress rehearsal for a possible Game 1 in Miami.
“Whenever we play Miami we have two, three guys guarding (James),” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “We didn’t do anything unusual tonight. I wasn’t looking for anything. We just had a normal kind of game – nothing out of the ordinary for us.”
James’ highlight of the night came early. Off a turnover, he took a pass from Mario Chalmers, thought about getting the ball to Mike Miller but Monta Eliis got into the passing lane. So James wound up throwing a pass off the backboard to himself – finishing the play with a dunk that had a half-dozen Heat players leap off the bench in unison and crane their necks toward the scoreboard to see the replay.
Other scores last night: Cavaliers 94, Pacers 99; 76ers 83, Nets 104; Wizards 99, Knicks 120; Raptors 101, Bulls 98; Bobcats 75, Grizzlies 94; Suns 98, Rockets 101; Thunder 90, Jazz 80; Hornets 96, Lakers 104; Timberwolves 89, Warriors 105.