NBA: Milwaukee Bucks rally to blow Heat off the floor

FINAL PUSH::Milwaukee led 56-44 at halftime, lost the advantage in the third quarter and then stormed back in the final period to beat the NBA champions 104-85

Reuters and AP, Houston, Texas

Mon, Dec 31, 2012 - Page 19

The Milwaukee Bucks stunned the Miami Heat with a fourth-quarter blitz on Saturday to record a 104-85 blowout win over the NBA champions.

With the Heat leading 71-69 entering the final period, the Bucks (16-12) kicked into high gear and outscored Miami 35-14 to blow them off the floor in the last quarter.

Brandon Jennings scored 25 points, Mike Dunleavy scored 13 of his 18 in the fourth and Milwaukee forced Miami into errors and turnovers. It was Miami’s second successive loss.

“It was good to win a game like this against the defending champs,” Milwaukee’s Luc Richard Mbah a Moute told reporters. “We’ve got to enjoy this one and continue to go at it. We needed to win a couple of games in a row at home.”

Heat guard Dwyane Wade returned from his one-game suspension for kicking Charlotte’s Ramon Sessions and scored 24 points, while LeBron James added 26 points.

Milwaukee had jumped out to a 56-44 halftime lead, but gave the advantage back in the third, where James took over and the Heat outscored them 27-13 in the quarter.

James had 14 in the third to pull his team back in the game.

However, everything changed in the fourth as Larry Sanders and Moute both produced two blocks each in the first few minutes to fuel a stirring run for the home side.

Playing in front of a boisterous crowd, the Bucks scored the first nine points of the fourth and never looked back.

“It’s always been tough for us to play them,” Wade said. “It’s always a battle. They did their job and used their energy in the fourth quarter. They took a lead and we couldn’t come back.”

Moute finished with 19 points and Sanders had 16 and 11 rebounds.

It was a rare off night for the Heat, who just missed tying their season-low point total of 84 and got little help from their supporting cast.

Both James and Wade made more than half of their field goal attempts and Chris Bosh (12 points) was the only other player to reach double figures.

Thunder 124, Rockets 94

In Houston, Russell Westbrook scored 28 points and Kevin Durant added 26 as the Oklahoma City Thunder built a big lead in the second quarter and rolled to a 124-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

Durant scored 11 points during a 16-0 run by the Thunder to end the first half and extend the lead to 18. Oklahoma City had another big run early in the third quarter to put the game further out of reach.

Former Thunder sixth man James Harden scored 25 for the Rockets, who went cold on offense for long stretches.

It was Oklahoma City’s second win this season over Houston, after taking the first meeting 120-98.

Kevin Martin, who came to Oklahoma City in the trade for Harden, finished 19 points and five three-pointers. Westbrook had eight rebounds and eight assists.

Marcus Morris scored a career-high 24 points for Houston.

Hornets 98, Bobcats 95

In Charlotte, Eric Gordon had 24 points and seven assists, helping New Orleans overcome a 21-point first-half deficit and extend Charlotte’s losing streak to 18 games.

The Bobcats are one game away from a winless month this month. They have not won since Nov. 24.

Gordon, who had not played since April 22 following arthroscopic right knee surgery, was five of 13 from the field and 12 of 14 from the free-throw line in 24 minutes.

Ryan Anderson had 19 points and made a pair of three-pointers in the final period as the Hornets won for the second time in three games.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 22 points and nine rebounds, and Gerald Henderson added 19 points for the Bobcats.

Nets 103, Cavaliers 100

In New York, Brook Lopez scored a season-high 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Brooklyn improved to 2-0 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo by beating Cleveland.

Lopez followed his 26-point, 11-rebound performance in a victory on Friday over Charlotte by shooting 13 of 20 from the field, making a number of timely baskets in the fourth quarter that the Nets ultimately needed to hold on.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 15 points for the Nets, who fired coach Avery Johnson on Thursday and followed with two victories over losing teams. However, now they head off for major tests at San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

C.J. Miles scored 33 points and made eight three-pointers for the Cavs, but Kyrie Irving capped a miserable shooting night when his tying three-point attempt went in and out. He finished with 13 points on five-of-16 shooting.

Tristan Thompson added 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who played without center Anderson Varejao because of a knee injury.

Grizzlies 81, Nuggets 72

In Memphis, Rudy Gay scored eight of his 19 points down the stretch to help Memphis beat Denver.

Gay’s rush was part of 10 straight points for the Grizzlies, breaking open a 68-all game with 4:45 minutes left. His baseline jumper with 1:25 minutes left gave Memphis a 10-point lead, helping the Grizzlies snap a two-game skid.

Zach Randolph had 12 points for Memphis, who won despite shooting 40 percent. The Grizzlies outscored the Nuggets 28-15 in the fourth quarter.

Andre Iguodala, Corey Brewer and JaVale McGee all had 12 points for Denver, who had their two-game winning streak stopped. Danilo Gallinari, coming off a career-high 39 points on Friday night against Dallas, was held to seven on two-of-8 shooting.

In other play, it was:

‧ Hawks 109, Pacers 100

‧ Raptors 123, Magic 88

‧ Timberwolves 111, Suns 107

‧ Bulls 87, Wizards 77

‧ Warriors 101, Celtics 83

‧ Trail Blazers 89, 76ers 85