Bird is the word in Heat win

Heat beat Bucks, 98-86, to take 2-0 series lead

Miami Heat star LeBron James talks about a slow start, Dwyane Wade flying, and the fourth quarter run.

MIAMI — There’s no choreographed script to do, “The Birdman.” No sing-song directions like you put your right foot in, you put your right foot out, you put your right foot in and …

“It’s not a dance,’’ Chris “Birdman” Andersen said of the arm-flapping bird, um, imitation that took off again in the Heat’s 98-86 win in Game 2 against Milwaukee became the scene of the night.

It wasn’t just Andersen who raised his arms in a flight-of-the-Birdman pose again. Hundreds of fans did it after he made an old-fashioned three-point play to kick off the fourth quarter.

Thousands did it less than two minutes later when his lay-in capped a 12-0 run to effectively end the game and, with it, the series.


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“I see them, I love seeing them,’’ Andersen said after Tuesday’s game, seated at his locker. “It’s great to get that response from our fans.”

People say this first-round playoff series is pretty pointless for the Heat. But we learned something important in Tuesday night’s 98-86 win in Game 2: If it comes to it, the Heat occasionally can lean on reserves for game-tilting moments.

Because for so much of Tuesday night, the Heat weren’t the Heat you’ve come to know and expect. They were sloppy. They were careless. They only led eighth-seed Milwaukee by three points to start the fourth quarter.

“They were doing things that had us spinning around a little bit,’’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

But one minute, as they walked out to start the fourth quarter, Milwaukee was slapping palms and feeling good about their chances. And three minutes later their night, and surely their series, was done.

This is how quickly it turns this time of year. And look who did it to them. In scoring 12 straight points to start the fourth quarter, Andersen had five points, Norris Cole had five more and LeBron contributed his first two points of the second half.

Most games, it’s the Big Three for the Heat. And they weren’t exactly invisible as Wade scored 21 points and LeBron had 19. But it was the Little Two that gave the spark this night.

“In playoff games like this, you’ve got to find different ways to win it,’’ Wade said after the game that put the Heat up in the series, 2-0.

Different fits Andersen, from the Mohawk to the full-body tattoos to the unorthodox manner he throws his body around a basketball court. But you’re seeing now why Heat coach Erik Spoelstra pestered Pat Riley to sign him in mid-season.

“He fits exactly what we needed,’’ Spoelstra said.

Size. Rebounding. Inside presence. That’s what he provides. In both playoffs games, he’s scored 10 points off the bench. He added six rebounds Tuesday after seven in Sunday’s Game 1.

“That’s the second time Chris has done that to us,’’ Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan said.

You have to give Milwaukee some credit on Tuesday. It made the Heat work for the win. It didn’t demand the Heat quite bring their playoff intensity, even if they know it’s that time of year.

LeBron, for instance, is in serious mode. A year ago, he stayed off Twitter during the playoffs. Now he’s added to that. Asked if he’s called Mike Brown, who again was named the Cleveland coach on Tuesday, “I don’t have my phone.”

In other words, don’t try calling him until late June. It wasn’t LeBron who carried Game 2 alone, though. The help started off the bench with Andersen and Cole carrying the start of the fourth quarter.

“Defense,’’ Andersen said on what changed for the Heat to take over. “Our defense led to our offense in the fourth quarter.”

This series wasn’t in doubt from the time it was announced. But there are snapshots to take, and things to carry on into the spring. “The Birdman” imitation, arms flapping, is what fans are taking thus far.

 

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