NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 6th (All times eastern)
Miami Heat (13-8) at Milwaukee Bucks (7-12), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - LeBron James and the Miami Heat will kick off a four-game road trip in search of their season-high fifth consecutive win when they visit Bradley Center to take on the Milwaukee Bucks.
With his return to Cleveland safely in the rear-view mirror, James was free to focus on basketball Saturday and scored 22 points while combining with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade for 84 percent of Miami's offense in an 89-77 victory over a pesky Atlanta Hawks team.
Two days after dropping a season-high 38 in the Heat's rout of Cleveland, James took just 11 shots and scored half of his points at the foul line. But his teammates picked up the slack. Bosh poured in 27 and Wade scored 26 to carry the load in the Heat's fourth straight win. Both players also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Miami is now 5-1 since a three-game losing dropped the Eastern Conference favorites to 8-7 on Nov. 24 -- a record that seemed impossible considering the three stars its fields every night.
"We're figuring out what it takes for us three to be successful," said James.
The Heat, who are just 3-5 on the road this season, will also visit Utah, Golden State and Sacramento on their trek.
The Bucks, meanwhile, took advantage of a depleted Orlando squad to win the opener of a four-game homestand on Saturday when Andrew Bogut returned to the Bucks' lineup at the right time, posting 31 points and 18 rebounds to carry Milwaukee to a 96-85 win over the Dwight Howard-less Magic.
Bogut was sidelined the previous five games due to back spasms and saw plenty of easy baskets without the two-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year clogging up the middle.
"He got going early offensively, we got him some easy baskets inside, he made some nice moves," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said. "They were under-manned [so] Bogut took advantage of that."
Howard, along with forward Mickael Pietrus and guards Jameer Nelson and J.J. Redick, missed their second straight game with a stomach virus.
The Magic were able to pull out their sixth straight win in Detroit Friday despite being short-handed, but failed to make it seven against Milwaukee, which got 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists out of Brandon Jennings.
Miami snapped a three-game skid against Milwaukee with a 87-74 win in Bradley Center last March.
12/06 10:35:38 ET