Heat scorches Bucks in blowout; Tatum scores 41 in Celtics romp

Posted by watchmen
February 15, 2024
Posted in SPORTS


Tyler Herro (left) of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against AJ Green of the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Stacy Revere / Getty Images via AFP)
Tyler Herro (left) of the Miami Heat drives to the basket against AJ Green of the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Stacy Revere / Getty Images via AFP)

An under-strength Miami Heat thrashed the struggling Milwaukee Bucks, 123-97, yesterday (Philippine time), while Jayson Tatum scored a 41-point double-double as the Boston Celtics cruised past the Brooklyn Nets.

Miami shrugged off the injury absences of Jimmy Butler, Terry Rozier and Josh Richardson to produce a shooting clinic in a one-sided rout on the road at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum.

Nikola Jovic led the Miami scorers with 24 points, including five three-pointers, while Duncan Robinson poured in six threes in his 23-point haul.

Miami went 19-of-40 from outside the arc, with six players finishing in double figures.

Veteran Kevin Love also got into the shooting groove, making five three-pointers off the bench to finish with 19 points in what was a wire-to-wire win for Milwaukee.

But the defeat left recently installed Milwaukee Bucks coach Doc Rivers with plenty to ponder as his team prepares for the All-Star break.

Rivers took charge last month after the shock dismissal of predecessor Adrian Griffin, with the brief of helping improve Milwaukee’s defense.

Yet it was another porous display by the Bucks, who struggled to build any kind of momentum against a well-organized Miami unit.

“Speed, pace — they were quicker on everything at both ends,” Rivers said after the loss.

“You have these nights, you hate them, but it is what it is. I thought as bad as it looked defensively, I thought our offense was way worse tonight. It started early.”

“At half-time, I thought it was just an awful offense. Right now, our team gets its personality from the offensive end, and we don’t want that. We want to get our personality from playing hard and doing defensive things. And tonight we didn’t do that.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee’s scoring with 23 points, while three players — Malik Beasley, Damian Lillard and Bobby Portis — all finished with 16 points apiece.

Miami, beaten by Denver in last season’s NBA finals, improved to 29-25 with the win and are seventh in the Eastern Conference standings.

Milwaukee fell to 35-20 and are third in the East behind first-placed Boston and second-placed Cleveland.

The Celtics, meanwhile, stretched their unbeaten streak to five games with a 118-110 defeat of the Brooklyn Nets, with Tatum in dazzling form to finish with 41 points, 14 rebounds and five assists.

Jaylen Brown added 19 points, while Al Horford and Derrick White added 16 points each as the Celtics improved to 42-12 at the top of the East.

The Celtics led from the first quarter, stretching their advantage to 23 points by the third quarter before Brooklyn rallied in the fourth to get within six with less than three minutes remaining.

“I was just in a good rhythm,” said Tatum, who scored 31 of his points in the first half.

In the other early game, the Oklahoma City Thunder blew past the Orlando Magic, 127-113.

Jalen Williams (33) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (32) combined for 65 points as the Thunder recovered from an 11-point deficit in the first quarter to run out convincing winners. (Agence France-Presse)


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