It was the move that Pat Riley didn't make that worked the best Thursday night.
Miami's coach wanted to sub for Dan Majerle late in the game but changed his mind and watched his veteran swingman sink a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes to clinch the Heat's 91-87 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
"We got very, very lucky at the end," said Riley, who tied Kevin Loughery for the most coaching victories (133) in Heat history. "I was about ready to sub for Majerle on a 20-second timeout. But they didn't sub, so I kept him on the floor and he made two 3s to win the game for us."
The Heat, behind 25 points from Jamal Mashburn, won for the 11th straight time on the Bucks' homecourt and snapped Milwaukee's six-game winning streak the Bucks' longest in seven seasons.
The Bucks also lost point guard Terrell Brandon, who reinjured his left ankle in the first quarter and didn't return. But Brandon was hopeful he would be back soon.
"It's positive that I'm walking on it," said Brandon, who missed seven games after spraining the same ankle on Dec. 11. "Not like last time, when I couldn't walk for three or four days. So I'm encouraged."
The Bucks, who trailed by 17 in the first half and by 11 after three quarters, fought back and took a 82-81 lead with 4:16 left when Armon Gilliam muscled his way past Alonzo Mourning for a short basket.
Tim Hardaway, who scored 19, restored the Heat's lead with a baseline jumper at 3:25, and Majerle's 3-pointer at 1:53 made it 86-82 Miami.
After Glenn Robinson sank a 3-pointer with 1:15 left to pull Milwaukee to 86-85, Majerle again turned back the charge with a long-range jumper that put Miami ahead 89-85 with 16.4 seconds left.
"I've been shooting 3s all my career and pretty much all year long for this team," Majerle said with a shrug. "It's one of my jobs to make some clutch baskets. Tonight, they fell."
Hardaway said the Heat, who had won at Philadelphia 24 hours earlier, welcomed Majerle's spark down the stretch when the rest of the team tired.
"We needed that," Hardaway said. "He plays very well offensively and defensively. We needed that from somebody and he was the only one to give it to us."
Robinson and Ray Allen each scored 25 points, and Gilliam added 20 for Milwaukee, which hopes to have Brandon back soon after the All-Star break.
Brandon stepped on Voshon Lenard's foot after missing a jumper in front of the Bucks' bench with his team trailing 28-11 late in the first quarter.
He stayed down for about five minutes with his head buried in a towel and was finally carried off the court and into the trainers' room. The Bucks mostly went with a bigger lineup the rest of the night with Allen, a shooting guard, running the offense.
The Bucks trailed 48-41 at halftime.
"With Terrell going down, I thought our guys really stepped up," Bucks coach Chris Ford said. "We fought, clawed and legitimately had chance to win it."
Ford said that was a positive sign for the second half as the Bucks try to return to the playoffs for the first time since 1990-91.
"As long as we come out with this type of toughness that we've exhibited over these seven games, there isn't a team out there that we should be afraid of matching up with," Ford said.
Notes: ... The Bucks were whistled for an illegal defense just 10 seconds into the game. ... Milwaukee hasn't beaten the Heat at home since Dec. 2, 1992. ... In 14 back-to-back sets, Miami is 11-3 on the second night but just 5-9 on the first night.
Written by Arnie Stapleton AP Sports Writer
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