MILWAUKEE – Ageless Ray Allen scored 23, setting the NBA career playoff record for 3-pointers in the process, and LeBron James had seven of his 22 points during a decisive run that closed out the third quarter – and maybe the Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat’s 104-91 victory last night gave the defending champions a 3-0 lead, with a chance to complete the sweep Sunday afternoon at the Bradley Center.
“That’s been our calling card all year, the depth that we have,” said Allen, whose five 3s gave him 322 for his career, two more than Reggie Miller.
“As a team, you’ve got to find a way to plug in the holes, and every night we find somebody different.”
Chris Bosh added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat, who have won 11 straight dating to the regular season and 40 of their last 42. Chris Andersen had another big game, scoring 11 on 5-of-5 shooting and grabbing six rebounds in less than 14 minutes.
Dwyane Wade had just four points, and his 1-of-12 shooting was his worst in a postseason game. But he contributed 11 assists, nine rebounds, five steals and two blocks.
Milwaukee, meanwhile, will simply try and avoid being swept.
Larry Sanders and Brandon Jennings had 16 each to lead six Bucks in double figures, and Sanders added 11 rebounds while Jennings contributed eight assists. But the Bucks couldn’t maintain the 10-point lead they took in the first quarter, when they shot 57 percent (12 of 21) and were 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Milwaukee was just 12 of 21 over the final three quarters (41 percent), and made only two more 3s.
The defending champions still haven’t played their best game. But it hardly matters with their ability to pull off one of their patented runs.
After leading for much of the game, Milwaukee was trying to pull away early in the third. Jennings was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free throws, then followed with a one-hand slam after Ersan Ilyasova’s steal. Luc Mbah a Moute made two sets of free throws, and the Bucks were back up 61-55 with 7:14 left in the third.
But the Heat have made a habit of putting the Bucks away with runs, and this game was no different.
Udonis Haslem made a layup and a pair of free throws, Mario Chalmers followed with a layup and the Heat were off on what would be a 23-7 run to close out the quarter. The Bucks got to 67-66 on a layup by Mbah a Moute, but James answered with a monster 3. After a pair of free throws by Mbah a Moute, Chalmers stripped Monta Ellis and fed James, who sprinted to the other end for the layup as the Bucks watched helplessly. Andersen scored on a reverse, James made a layup and then fed Andersen for another layup that gave Miami a 78-68 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Bucks never got within single digits again.
In other matches last night Chicago Bulls beat the Brooklyn Nets 79-76 to take a 2-1 lead in the series, while the Memphis Grizzlies defeated Los Angeles Clippers 94-82. Clippers lead the series 2-1.