Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 2/13/12

February 09, 2010 Milwaukee, WI. Bradley Center..Milwaukee Bucks Brandon Jennings had 18 points and 5 assists..Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Detroit Pistons 81-93. Mike McGinnis/CSM.

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MILWAUKEE In two previous meetings this season, the Milwaukee Bucks have had their way with the Miami Heat, an unlikely circumstance considering the Heat's superstar-laden lineup and Milwaukee's collection of journeymen surrounding point guard Brandon Jennings. Still, though, the Bucks have had Miami's number this season. In the first meeting, the Bucks took advantage of the fact that Dwyane Wade was out of the lineup and rolled to a 91-82 victory in Miami. Less than a month later, the teams met again, this time at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Miami jumped out to an 18-point lead in the first quarter and looked well on its way to a laughable road victory. But the Bucks came roaring back in the second half, and Brandon Jennings' three three-pointers in the fourth quarter were the final nail in the coffin of a stunning 105-97 Milwaukee victory that brought the Bucks within a game of .500. Heading into the season finale between the two teams, Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra stressed the importance of "getting into the fight," and suggested that his team would come out with a greater sense of urgency and aggressiveness than it did in the first two meetings. "We watched the film of the last two games and we saw that our offense was not efficient and they took us out of everything we normally want to do," Sploestra said. "We made a commitment to get into this fight (tonight), no one can spectate, we had to get our hands dirty, which we didn't do the first two games." The Heat certainly did. Behind a 35-point performance from LeBron James, the Heat rolled to a 114-96 victory over the Bucks Monday night in Milwaukee, which was the only team in the NBA to beat the Heat twice this season. In winning, the Heat accomplished exactly what Spoelstra said needed to be done to prevent a series sweep. They were physical. They were aggressive. They battled for loose balls. They rebounded. They made shots -- a lot of them, actually, connecting on 43 of 83 attempts and 7 of 14 three-pointers. "For us, we understand that they beat us twice because we didn't play a 48-minute game, not because they're better than us," said Wade, who finished with 22 points. "We just had to come out here, and like Coach said, we had to get into a fight with a team that's very scrappy. They beat you to the little things that you don't really see in the score box. Tonight we got into that fight and we let our talents and our offensive abilities take us the rest of the way." The Heat did everything that would be expected of a team with three of the game's biggest stars, including James. He had 28 points in the teams' first meeting and 40 in the second, with 26 of those in the first quarter. With his performance Monday, he's averaging 34.3 points against Milwaukee this season and shooting a combined 51 percent. Especially frustrating for the Bucks -- and encouraging for Miami -- was James' ability to hit shots with hands in his face. "LeBron is seventh in the league in field goal percentage," said Milwaukee head coach Scott Skiles. "I don't know what LeBron or (Spoelstra) would think about how many difficult shots he takes, but he can take and make difficult shots. Maybe they're not difficult for him, maybe they look difficult for most people but not for him." Milwaukee, meanwhile, hung close for a while. The Bucks lead, 30-27, after one and were down, 55-50 at the half. But the Heat, powered by James' 16 points, broke the game open in the third and never looked back. The Bucks' biggest problem came on the defensive end, where the struggles have been obvious for the last four games -- all of them losses. "Right now, we're an average defensive team," Skiles said. "We can't afford to be average." Especially against a team like Miami, which can win even when it's playing below average. Follow Andrew Wagner on Twitter.
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