Milwaukee Bucks Rout Heat Behind … Kendall Marshall?


The Milwaukee Bucks bounced back from a slow start and seldom-used Kendall Marshall stepped up in a big way, scoring 20 points to lead the Bucks to a 109-85 rout of the Miami Heat Friday at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

With Brandon Knight in foul trouble, Marshall—who has been a DNP-Coach’s Decision 11 times in Milwaukee’s 21 games this season—came off the bench to play 24 minutes, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Bucks pulled away after leading 80-71 heading into the period.

Final. 109. 89. 85. 110

The Bucks (11-10) began to bounce back in the second quarter after Miami (9-10) opened the period on a 6-0 burst to go up 36-25 on a 3-pointer by Chris Bosh.

After Mario Chalmers stole the ball from Zaza Pachulia, he blew a layup that could have put the Heat up by 13 and that seemed to spark the Bucks, who ran off nine straight points.

After leading 54-50 at the half, the Bucks and Heat played back and forth throughout the third quarter, with the lead changing five times to go with three ties.

But Milwaukee closed the quarter on a 13-2 run, keyed by eight straight free throws by Jerryd Bayless, and Larry Sanders—who didn’t start because of an illness but played 18 minutes off the bench—tipped in his own miss with 0.2 seconds left in the period to give the Bucks an 80-71 lead.

After Khris Middleton hit a turnaround jumper for the first points of the fourth quarter, Milwaukee never led by less than 10 the rest of the way.

Milwaukee’s third quarter run got started with a big play from a couple of the kids.

Bayless picked off a bad pass from Miami’s Shabazz Napier, got the ball ahead to Jabari Parker, who found a streaking Giannis Antetokounmpo coming off the left wing.

And the Greek Freak did this, obliterating Bosh in the process.

Antetokounmpo was also fouled by Bosh on the dunk, hitting the free throw to complete the three-point play and give the Bucks a 70-69 lead.

It was the last night we can refer to Antetokoumpo as a teenager, as well—he will be 20 on Saturday.

"“It was big energy for the team,” Antetokounmpo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It was a momentum play for us. Thank God I was able to get momentum for my teammates with the dunk. We were energized.”"

Energized, indeed—Milwaukee went on a 21-3 stretch across the third and fourth quarters to put the game away.

The third quarter was also big for one of the fans. Jake Senger of Waukesha drained a half-court shot during a timeout and took home an extra $5,000.

As far Marshall’s performance, coach Jason Kidd said it was a matter of a player seizing an opportunity.

"“I think Kendall has been playing well for us,” Kidd said. “We have a lot of guards. The whole thing is, be prepared. I think he works extremely hard. Even when he’s not playing, he’s always been ready. When he’s gotten in, he’s been positive for us.“B-Knight got in foul trouble (Friday night) and Kendall stepped right in and helped us find a way to win.”"

Marshall—who was 7-for-8 from the floor and 4-for-5 from behind the arc—said it’s been about work and patience for him.

"“That’s a huge part of this league,” Marshall said. “Being a professional, you have to wait for your number to be called and be ready to go.”"

The win got the Bucks back over the .500 mark and snapped a three-game losing streak.

Dec 5, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker (12) drives past Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Rapidly running out of opportunities to compare the start Milwaukee is on to last year’s dismal season, the Bucks got their 11th win in their 21st game this season. In 2013-14, Milwaukee didn’t get win No. 11 until Feb. 24—their 56th game of the year.

They’re now 2-0 against the Heat this season after winning in Miami 91-84 on Nov. 16. Milwaukee returns to Miami on Jan. 27 and the final game of the season series is March 24 in Milwaukee.

The Bucks shot 56.5 percent for the game and were 9-for-16 from 3-point range with six players in double figures.

Antetokounmpo, Parker and Middleton each scored 14 points, Knight had 13 in just 21 minutes and Bayless tossed in 12—including going 7-for-7 from the line to take over the NBA lead in free-throw shooting at 97.4 percent. He is 37-for-38 for the season.

Pachulia, who started in place of Sanders, had a game-high eight rebounds and scored four points. Bayless handed out five assists, Middleton had three steals and Antetokounmpo blocked two shots and grabbed seven boards.

Dec 5, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives for the basket against Miami Heat forward Josh McRoberts (4) in the fourth quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee obliterated Miami on the glass 45-20.

Former Marquette star Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 28 points and eight assists. Bosh finished with 21 points and six rebounds. Chalmers checked in with six assists, six steals—Milwaukee had 25 turnovers—and scored nine points. Danny Granger scored seven points and had two blocks.

Miami shot 44.1 percent for the game and just 38.2 percent after halftime.

The Bucks play again Sunday night in Dallas for a 6:30 p.m. tip. The Mavericks (15-6) beat Milwaukee at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on a buzzer-beater from former Buck Monta Ellis.

Dallas lost at home to Phoenix Friday night, 118-106.

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