Basketball / Sports

Bucks routed by Heat at home

MILWAUKEE -- Ramon Sessions said the Milwaukee Bucks defense wasn't too bad Saturday against the Miami Heat.

The offense?

Now that's another story.

Milwaukee established a season-low point total in an 88-67 loss to the Heat before a season-best crowd of 17,986 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. And the 67 points scored by the Bucks was just one more than the league season low set by Washington.

Bucks fans still had something to cheer about as they emptied into the atriums to watch the Wisconsin Badgers finish off their victory over Arizona to reach the Final Four.

But the Bucks seemed stuck in mud all night as they struggled to do anything against LeBron James and a reshuffled Heat lineup.

"We could say our defense was good," Sessions said. "They had 46 points at halftime. But we had, what, 29. You've just got to hang your head on that one and refresh and let it go."

Milwaukee (14-59) failed in another chance to win back-to-back games and extended its margin over Philadelphia (16-57) in the chase for the most pingpong balls in the May draft lottery. The 76ers ended a 26-game skid with a 123-98 victory over the fading Detroit Pistons.

Chris Bosh scored 14 points and James extended his streak of consecutive games in double figures to 564 as he finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes. James' total tied a season low but the Heat hardly needed a big scoring night from him.

Toney Douglas added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Rashard Lewis also had 13 points.

Chris "Birdman" Andersen added a team-high 14 rebounds for the Heat (50-22), which won easily for the second straight night after routing Detroit on Friday by 32 points.

"I didn't feel like we had that pep in our step," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "We were talking about getting out in transition. Against a good defensive team you can't rely on your half-court (offense) every possession.

"And I thought in the first half we got seduced into running the half-court sets instead of getting the basketball out and exploring some easy opportunities."

The Bucks' point total broke their previous low mark of 72 set on Jan. 10 against the Chicago Bulls.

"All those guys are veterans," Sessions said of Udonis Haslem, James Jones and Douglas, who were in the Heat starting lineup for the second straight night. "You can't tell they're missing too many people."

The Heat played without starters Mario Chalmers, Dwyane Wade and Greg Oden, all out with injuries.

"He can turn it on when he has to turn it on," Sessions said of James, who had just four points in the first half. "That's why he's LeBron. But tonight was one of those nights where he was getting guys involved and guys were getting in a rhythm."

The real highlight of James' night came before the game when he met Ebony Nettles-Bey, the 16-year-old from Verona High School who so wanted to meet the NBA superstar.

Nettles-Bey plays basketball at Verona despite suffering from cancer (Stage 4 soft-tissue sarcoma). Last year she was an all-conference player at Madison West.

"What she's going through every single day; the challenges she's facing every single day with the Stage 4 cancer that she has, she's the stronger one out of us two," James said. "She's unbelievable, and for me to be someone that her last wish is to meet me, that's a 'Wow' factor.

"I didn't need to meet her to understand and know how strong she was. But it's great to be around her and see her enthusiasm even with what she's dealing with. It's like she doesn't even have it. It's not going to stop her. That's a very unique trait."

(c)2014 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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