There’s just something about the Milwaukee Bucks the Miami Heat can’t seem to figure out lately.
Wednesday night, it was a trio of things: How to keep them off the free-throw line, how to keep them out of the paint and how to keep their hands off the ball when the Heat had it.
Led by 6-11 point forward Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Milwaukee ended the Heat’s season-long five-game winning streak with a 114-108 victory at the Bradley Center.
The Bucks, who have beaten the Heat in six of the past seven meetings, made 26 of their 37 free-throw attempts, scored 66 points in the paint and forced 17 Heat turnovers that led to 23 points.
That all offset some quality bench work by Hassan Whiteside (23 points, 13 rebounds 3 blocks in 29 minutes) and rookie Josh Richardson (14 points, three three-pointers) and dropped the Heat (37-27) to 1 ½ games behind the Boston Celtics for third place in the Eastern Conference.
“They had 66 paint points and we had 60,” said Dwyane Wade, who had 18 points, six assists and six turnovers in 33 minutes. “It’s not where they beat us. They beat us on second-chance [points] and they beat us at the line. We had too many turnovers as a team. I had way too many. But they beat us on second-chance points and slowing the game down, going to the free-throw line.
“You never have a rhythm against that team. It’s a nasty game, a junk game.”