LeBron James scored 33 points and got the entire fourth quarter off, Michael Beasley scored 19 off the bench and the Miami Heat had little trouble on the way to beating the Milwaukee Bucks 118-95 Tuesday night.
Mario Chalmers finished with 15 points and seven assists for the Heat, whose biggest victory margin before Tuesday was a 12-point triumph over Chicago on opening night. Chris Bosh scored 10 for Miami (5-3).
John Henson and Gary Neal each scored 18 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 11 for Milwaukee — all three of them putting up those points off the Bucks' bench. Caron Butler was the only double-digit-scoring starter for the Bucks (2-4), finishing with 10.
Miami played without Udonis Haslem (back) and Ray Allen (ill). Shane Battier started in Haslem's place.
The Heat have scored at least 100 points in each of their eight games so far, extending the team's franchise record for such a start, but what carried much more significance in the collective eyes of the two-time defending NBA champions were the defensive numbers.
Milwaukee shot only 35 percent in the first three quarters, before scoring 33 points against an array of what largely was Heat second- and third-teamers in the final 12 minutes.
James gave the Heat a shot of adrenaline late in the half, when he and Chalmers teamed up for yet another entry on Miami's alley-oop highlight reel. Dwyane Wade grabbed a deflected ball and got it to Chalmers, who drove down the lane against Milwaukee's Khris Middleton — then simply lofted the ball straight up, knowing James was trailing the play.
The result was predictable. James soared past Middleton for the dunk, the Heat took a 56-45 lead into the half, and the league's four-time MVP then took over in the third quarter.
James 17, Bucks 17 — that was the score in the third quarter, after the Heat star made 6 of 9 shots in the period, including four 3-pointers. He also drove for one particularly emphatic slam, and the 84-62 lead that Miami carried into the fourth ensured he would get the rest of the night off after logging only 30 minutes.
NOTES: Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather was courtside, and the Brazilian national soccer team was also in attendance. ... Beasley's fourth point was the 5,000th of his NBA career. ... Bucks coach Larry Drew, on how his team is going to be shorthanded because of injuries to Ersan Ilyasova, Luke Ridnour and Larry Sanders: "There will be some guys who will probably play out of position, but this is what being shorthanded is all about."