|Miami Heat's Mario Chalmers (C) fights for the loose ball with Milwaukee Bucks' Carlos Delfino (L) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Milwaukee, Wisconsin February 1, 2012. Photo by Darren Hauck, Reuters.
MANILA, Philippines – The Milwaukee Bucks overhauled an 18-point first half deficit and used a remarkable 22-3 run in the fourth quarter to book another upset against the Miami Heat, 105-97.
The Bucks defeated the Heat in their first meeting this season, 91-82, in what was Miami’s fourth game in six nights.
LeBron James seemed determined to avenge that loss, as he burned the Bucks for 24 points in the first quarter alone, helping the Heat build a 40-23 lead. James finished with 40 points in the game.
Miami led 60-47 after the first half, but the Bucks started the third quarter with a 13-2 run to cut the lead to two points, 60-62.
The Bucks took control of the game for good in the final period, when they blitzed the Heat with a 22-3 run, capped by back-to-back three-pointers from Brandon Jennings, who finished with 31 points.
By the time Miami ended the run, Milwaukee was ahead 98-82. The Bucks outscored the Heat 58-37 in the second half.
"We can't just have an ordinary energy game, we have to have an extraordinary game against them," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles told NBA.com.
"The guys came out in the second half and really took it to them."
The Heat made 60% of their shots in the first half but that percentage dropped to 46% by the time the game was over. They turned the ball over 17 times, and the Miami offense stagnated, with James and Dwyane Wade alternating going one-on-one against Milwaukee.
"I think it's good for us when they try to go one-on-one," Bucks forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said. "The other part of that, though, is that they're very, very good players and you can get exposed that way."
"But the good thing is when you’re able to stop them, it gets the other guys around them frustrated and it slows down their momentum," he added.
"We're trying to find a balance where we can take advantage of our guys' strengths of ability to attack and ability to break down the defense. At the same time, we have to do it collectively, and the ball has to move," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder bounced back from their loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, defeating the defending champions Dallas Mavericks on the road, 95-86.
Russell Westbrook had 33 points, including the go-ahead jumper with less than two minutes remaining, while Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka both tallied double-doubles.
Durant had 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Ibaka had a career-high 10 blocks to go with 11 rebounds.
The Thunder held the Mavericks to 35.7% shooting from the field, and last seasons Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki was limited to eight points on two-of-15 shooting.
"(Serge) was fun to watch," Durant said. "(Nowitzki) missed some shots he normally hits, I think we frustrated him."
Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said Ibaka's defensive presence "was very disruptive." "The blocks he had in the second quarter, I thought were really the difference in the game if you look at the big picture," he added.
The Indiana Pacers defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 109-99, behind a 36-point effort from Danny Granger.
Steve Nash turned in a dominant 30-point, 10-assist performance for the Phoenix Suns, who trounced the New Orleans Hornets, 120-103.