By CHRIS JENKINS, Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) — LeBron James scored 35 points and the Miami Heat finally found a way to beat Milwaukee, using a third-quarter surge to beat the Bucks 114-96 on Monday night.
Dwyane Wade scored 22 and Mario Chalmers added 13 for the Heat, who were 0-2 against the Bucks coming into Monday night's game.
James scored 16 of his points in the third quarter as the Heat outscored the Bucks 35-24 to take control of the game.
Carlos Delfino scored 24 for the Bucks, who were coming off a loss to Orlando on Saturday night.
With the win, Miami ran its record to 22-7 — equaling the franchise's best start after the first 29 games of a season, set in 1996-97 and again in 2004-05.
Leading 55-50 after two quarters, the Heat put together a 14-4 run out of halftime. It started right away, as Chalmers stole the ball from Brandon Jennings and cruised down the court for a fastbreak layup.
The Bucks then began to struggle on offense — including one sequence in which Milwaukee's Drew Gooden had the ball swatted away from him twice on a single possession by Miami's Joel Anthony. Gooden was called for a technical foul immediately afterward.
Later in the run, James stole the ball from Jennings, then finished with a powerful one-handed slam to give the Heat a 69-54 lead.
James went on to score 16 in the quarter, including another monster dunk in the final seconds. With the clock running down at the end of the quarter, James took advantage of a defensive lapse and ran uncontested down the lane, finishing with a one-handed dunk with 4.2 seconds left in the quarter.
Miami took a 90-74 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Bucks beat the Heat 91-82 in Miami on Jan. 22 — then beat them again in Milwaukee on Feb. 1, a 105-97 victory in which the Bucks trailed by 18 points in the first half. The Bucks haven't swept the Heat since the 1990-91 season.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra acknowledged before the game that the Bucks' previous two victories got his attention. Spoelstra said that the Bucks' physical defense "made us uncomfortable" in the first two games, saying the Heat had to win what he described as the high-effort "fistfight battles" on the court this time out.
It looked as if the Heat might be in for another tough battle early on.
Milwaukee was ahead 30-27 after the first quarter, then led 41-35 midway through the second quarter after a fast-break layup by Mike Dunleavy. But the Heat rallied to take a five-point lead into halftime.
Notes: Miami was without C Dexter Pittman, who has a sprained left shoulder. Spoelstra said he will be evaluated on a game-to-game basis. ... The Heat came into Monday with two straight wins, including a 20-point blowout victory at Atlanta on Sunday.