It took 36 minutes to shake them loose, but the Miami Heat were once again able to run away from the Milwaukee Bucks to take a commanding 2-0 series lead as the two teams head to Milwaukee, winning 98-86 Tuesday night.
Looking to avoid a repeat of Game 1, the Bucks got off to a hot start, taking an early lead and holding it through much of the first quarter. Most of their scoring in the first quarter came from Ersan Ilyasova, who attacked Udonis Haslem off the dribble early and often on his way to 12 first quarter points. The Bucks hot start was aided by six Heat turnovers, as the defending champs never seemed to find their rhythm on either side of the ball. Still, a 6-1 mini-run led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade gave the Heat a 25-23 lead to end the first quarter.
Miami looked like they were going to bust the game open early in the second quarter, going on a quick 8-0 run to take a 33-27 lead. Then the unlikely trio of Ilyasova, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Marquis Daniels kept the Bucks in the game, as they battled back to exchange leads with the Heat in the middle of the quarter. The Heat used another run to take a four point lead into the locker room at the half.
Whether it was turnovers or great Milwaukee ball movement for open shots, the Heat continued to struggle to pull away in the third quarter. Several times in the second half they looked poised to run away with the game only to surrender a quick 4-0 or 6-0 run and were only up three heading in to the fourth quarter.
That's when things escalated quickly. The Heat, led by James, Chris Andersen and Norris Cole, got out and went on a 12-0 run in just 2 1/2 minutes to take a 15-point lead. The Miami defense put the clamps on the Bucks in the fourth, holding them to just 21 points, many of which came in garbage time.
A scary moment occurred midway through the fourth quarter when Shane Battier went up for a lay up and Larry Sanders collapsed on top of him. Sanders' leg ended up twisted under Battier's body when the two landed, while Battier hit the ground face first. Sanders stayed down and a timeout was called. He was able to get up and stay in the game. Battier made both free throws and then left the game to receive stitches in his chin.
Wade led the Heat with 21 points and seven rebounds while James added 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Battier and Andersen both chipped in 10 points off the bench. Ilyasova led the Bucks with 21 points, while Sanders added 14 points. Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for just 15 points on 5-22 shooting.
Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. ET from Milwaukee.