Heat Check: Short-handed Miami overpowers Bucks

The Miami Heat’s depleted lineup overwhelmed a struggling opponent for the second straight night.

Again playing without Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, Mario Chalmers and Greg Oden, the Heat trounced the Milwaukee Bucks 88-67 on Saturday night.

The four players also missed Miami’s 119-78 rout of Detroit on Friday night. Starters Wade (hamstring) and Chalmers (thigh), reserves Allen (stomach virus) and Oden (back) will be able to rest a day before playing Toronto at AmericanAirlines Arena on Monday night.

Chris Bosh’s 14 points led five double-figure scorers for the Heat (50-22), who moved to within 1 1/2 games of Indiana in the race for the Eastern Conference top seed.

Lebron James, Toney Douglas and Rashard Lewis each scored 13 points. Chris ”Birdman” Andersen had 14 rebounds.

Brandon Knight of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had 13 points and 5 assists for the Bucks (14-59), who own the league’s worst record.

The Heat closed the second quarter with a 12-3 run to build a 46-29 halftime lead. Bosh had 12 points and 56 rebounds, and ”Birdman” had 8 points and five rebounds.

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The Bucks’ 29 points in the first half was a season-low for a Heat opponent.

Miami hit just 5 of 19 shots but led 21-12 after an ugly first quarter. The Heat forced seven Milwaukee turnovers in the first 12 minutes.

The turning point

Miami’s 12-3 run to end the second quarter built a 17-point halftime, from which Milwaukee didn’t recover.

The difference maker

Chris Andersen has been as valuable as any Heat player this season because he provides rebounding and energy. He had 14 rebounds against the Bucks included five at the offensive end.

Stat of the game

The Heat held Milwaukee to 34.2 percent shooting (27 of 79).

Video highlight

What’s next

The Heat will play the Toronto Raptors in the first of five straight home games on Monday at 7:30 p.m.

You can follow Charlie McCarthy on Twitter @mccarthy_chas or email him at mac1763@bellsouth.net.