MILWAUKEE – Dwyane Wade scored 27 points and Gary Payton added 20 to give Miami Heat coach Pat Riley his second win in as many nights, a 100-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

Wade and Payton exposed Milwaukee’s lack of perimeter defense, combining to go 17-for-26 from the field.

Michael Redd scored 24 points and T.J. Ford had 17 for Milwaukee, but they were dominated by the bigger and stronger Heat backcourt and didn’t have fellow guard Mo Williams (thigh bruise) to provide support.

Ford was forced to play every minute except the final one, and the lack of depth showed in Milwaukee’s shooting.

Leading the league with a 43 percent clip from 3-point range, the Bucks missed their first 12 before Redd hit with 3:07 left in the third quarter to cut Miami’s lead to 66-59.

Milwaukee, which also didn’t have shooting guard Bobby Simmons (shoulder) due to an injury, finished 3-for-21 from behind the arc and failed to showcase the speed its used on a three-game winning streak. It was the third time this season the Bucks failed to win four straight.

Payton’s 3-pointer midway through the third gave Miami a 61-50 lead, and Antoine Walker extended it to 82-68 with 8:28 left in the fourth when Wade whipped a behind the back pass for the layup.

Milwaukee never got closer than eight in the fourth as Payton found Wade on a backdoor cut for another easy basket to make it 93-80 with 3:07 left.

Shaquille O’Neal, who playfully tossed snowballs before entering the arena in his second game back, finished with 13 points and six rebounds in 26 minutes. But he was saddled with early foul trouble, including two on back-to-back trips down the floor in the first quarter.

O’Neal was quickly replaced with Alonzo Mourning, who blocked three shots in his first five minutes, matching his league-leading average. Mourning finished with four blocks.

The Bucks didn’t look like they were going to be an easy opponent early, jumping out to a double-digit lead during a 13-0 first-quarter run.

It wouldn’t last.

Riley, who won 100-97 over Chicago on Tuesday night in his return to the bench, looked disgusted with his team’s early play and threw his hands up after a quick whistle against Mourning.

He said before the game he’s learned to be more patient and that some of his more well-known habits – like four-hour shootarounds – aren’t likely to happen anymore.

They won’t be needed with veterans like Payton, who fed off the crowd’s constant boos every time he touched the ball. Payton played in Milwaukee for a few months after being traded in 2003, but left at the end of the season.

Wade scored six straight points, capped by a breakaway dunk, to put the Heat up for good, 45-40.

Notes: Milwaukee is now 10-2 against Eastern Conference opponents. … Williams and Simmons are day-to-day. .. During introductions, Walker and Mourning were announced as starters instead of actual starters James Posey and O’Neal. … Miami coach Pat Riley calls O’Neal and Mourning a two-headed center and referred to them in pre-game as “SoZo.” … Bucks G Charlie Bell will be out six to eight weeks with a sprained MCL in his right knee that occurred Monday.

AP-ES-12-14-05 2240EST


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