By TIM REYNOLDS (AP Sports Writer) | The Associated Press
MIAMI (AP) — The night started with the Miami Heat paying tribute to Udonis Haslem, who became the franchise’s career rebounding leader in the first quarter.
Maybe, then, it was fitting that rebounds became a necessary theme the rest of the way for the Heat.
LeBron James had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade added 28 more points in his return from injury and the Heat scored the first six points of overtime on the way to beating the Milwaukee Bucks 113-106 on Wednesday night.
Chris Bosh had 24 points and 18 rebounds, his most rebounds in a Heat uniform. James also had eight assists, and Ray Allen scored 17 points for the Heat, who moved to 5-0 at home – even after wasting an early 18-point lead and having to rally from seven points down in the final minutes of regulation.
”We’ve got to just continue to get better,” James said. ”We came out for a quarter and a half and played some good basketball and then we kind of got laxed offensively, had some turnovers and let them get back into the game. But I guess we like close games – and figure out a way to execute down the stretch.”
The Bucks took 109 shots, their most in a game since March 8, 2003. They shot just 42 percent for the game, and 33 percent in overtime.
John Henson came off the bench to finish with 17 points and 18 rebounds for Milwaukee. Brandon Jennings scored 19 points on 9-for-25 shooting for the Bucks, who got 16 from Mike Dunleavy, 11 from Tobias Harris and 10 from Samuel Dalembert.
”LeBron made some big plays, got his guys, found his guys,” Henson said. ”That’s what helped them win the game.”
Miami outscored Milwaukee 15-8 in overtime, meaning the last run – on a night filled with back and forth – belonged to the Heat, who survived despite wasting an early 18-point lead.
In fact, it was Miami which had to rally just to extend the game late.
”That’s the nature of NBA games,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”They’re long. The other team will make a run. … This is a very good basketball team. They stormed right back into it. You have to give them credit.”
Allen’s 3-pointer with 1:07 left sealed it for Miami, giving the Heat a 109-100 lead.
Haslem became the franchise career leader in rebounds late in the first quarter, grabbing the 4,808th of his career, one more than Alonzo Mourning – now a Heat executive who was in his customary seat beyond one baseline to see his mark get passed.
The team paid tribute with a video and Spoelstra said Haslem’s teammates also honored him in the locker room. But the night almost went for naught.
Down seven late in the fourth quarter, the Heat reclaimed the lead with a 10-0 run. James played quarterback for much of the burst, hitting a 3-pointer, setting up Wade for a score that tied the game and eventually finding Allen in the right corner for another 3 and a 94-91 lead.
Milwaukee took the lead twice more and Miami tied it quickly both times. The Bucks went for the win late, but Monta Ellis missed a jumper, Henson couldn’t score on the rebound, and the Heat eventually controlled the ball and got a stoppage with 1.4 seconds left. They just didn’t get a shot off – Ellis knocked the ball from Wade’s hands before he could fire off a chance at the win, and the teams went to overtime tied at 98.
”Small margin of error against that team,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. ”And we still had a shot to win the game. It just didn’t go in.”
The Heat ran out to an early 37-19 lead, and the margin still seemed more than comfortable at 44-28 with 4:10 left in the half, when the Bucks seemed to be coming completely apart.
Larry Sanders committed a personal foul, didn’t like the call and let everyone know his feelings. Sanders slammed the ball toward the basket for one technical, started complaining, kept complaining, picked up the second technical and then appeared to even have a few choice words for his own bench as he departed for the Milwaukee locker room.
For whatever reason, the game changed in that instant.
Milwaukee scored the next 13 points and closed the half on a 16-2 run – the last three of those points coming in the most unexpected way, with Dalembert connecting from about 27 feet. Dalembert had missed all 10 of his previous 3-point tries in his career.
”Guys get up to play us and we understand that,” James said. ”Guys are in this league for a reason.”