Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Recap: Heat Throttle Bucks 96-77

LeBron James proved yet again that he is good at basketball and the Bucks are not.

For the second time in five days, the Miami Heat (52-22) thoroughly handled the Milwaukee Bucks (14-61)

It was clear from the opening tip that Milwaukee was greatly overmatched versus the defending champions. Playing without Dwyane Wade, Greg Oden and Ray Allen, Miami jumped out to a 33-19 first quarter advantage and extended the lead to 56-38 by halftime.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghEcSr-HWz0

Despite facing an attack-mode LeBron James, the Bucks held Miami to just 21 points in the third quarter, but managed just 19 of their own. A 13-4 Miami run to begin the final period put the game away, allowing James to rest for nearly the entire fourth quarter.

The King led the way for Miami, scoring 17 points to go with four rebounds and eight assists in just 29 minutes. Chris Bosh added 15 points, and Mario Chalmers contributed 14 on 6-of-8 shooting. Little-used veteran James Jones connected on 3-of-5 attempts from beyond the arc, leading a Miami bench that outscored the Bucks’ reserves 35-21.

Shooting was not the issue for Milwaukee, which connected on 43.8 percent of its field goal attempts, but 17 turnovers led to 15 Heat fast break points. Milwaukee won the rebounding battle 42-35 and scored 50 points in the paint compared to Miami’s 46.

Ramon Sessions turned in another strong performance, leading the Bucks with 19 points and six assists in a game-high 45 minutes. Brandon Knight added 11 points, and Jeff Adrien chipped in 14 and seven rebounds.

In only 25 minutes, Zaza Pachulia posted eight points and 16 rebounds (six offensive). Over the last two games, Pachulia is averaging 10 points, 14.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

Game notes:

– Milwaukee connected on all nine of its free throw attempts, six of which came courtesy of Ramon Sessions.

– Khris Middleton shot just 2-of-10 from the field and is now a combined 12-of-37 over the last three games.

– It was a quiet night for Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored just five points (2-5 FG) in 22 minutes off the bench.

– O.J. Mayo sat out for Milwaukee – his third straight absence due to an ankle injury.

Leaders

Points: Sessions (19), James (17)

Rebounds: Pachulia (16), Andersen/Douglas (7)

Assists: Sessions (6), James (8)

Blocks: Three tied (1), Andersen (2)

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