LeBron James helped Miami finally find a way past the Milwaukee Bucks, scoring 35 points in the Heat`s 114-96 victory on Monday.
The Bucks had beaten the Heat in both meetings this season, and three successive times overall, but they were steamrolled on Monday despite taking an eight-point lead in the first quarter.
Inflicting most of his damage from close range, James made 16 of 21 field goal attempts and keyed Miami`s third-quarter surge where they took a stranglehold on the game to cruise to a sixth win in seven games.
Milwaukee`s quick start was erased in the second quarter and they trailed by five at halftime. The Heat upped the pace after the intermission and outscored the home team 35-24 in the third.
Dwyane Wade chipped in with 22 points as Miami (22-7) moved within a half-game of the Chicago Bulls for the Eastern Conference lead.
Carlos Delfino finished with a team-high 24 points for the Bucks (12-16), who shot just 39 percent in slumping to their fifth defeat in seven games.
First Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 10:25