BY GEORGE RICHARDS
MILWAUKEE -- Miami played a great third quarter on Saturday night. That was about it.
And Milwaukee ran away with a 104-85 win because of it.
The Heat, who only played well -- really -- in the first against Detroit, has now lost two straight games. Both of which, it should be noted, were by double digits.
"Milwaukee,'' coach Erik Spoelstra said, "kicked out butt. They were the better team tonight.''
Said LeBron James: "We played good ball in the third, put the pressure on them. But then they put it back on us. They got back into their comfort zone in the fourth.''
The Bucks were outscored 24-13 by Miami in the third and going into the fourth.
Spoelstra gave James a breather -- he usually plays through the third quarter -- and the Heat lost its edge without the reigning league MVP on the court.
Milwaukee broke out on a 23-5 run to open the fourth and led by 16 when James was called for an offensive foul with 5:22 left.
James led all scorers with 26 points -- including 14 in the third.
"I was dog tired,'' James said. "I was pushing the pace, trying to get us going in the third. Every time we got a rebound, I was getting us up the floor. I was feeling pretty good, but I went 10 straight minutes of just burning out. I would have been cheating my teammates had I stayed out there.''
"It happened so quickly. It seemed like a 20-0 run in which we couldn't gather ourselves,'' Spoelstra said.
-- Although the Pistons may not have gotten the Heat's attention after a big second quarter on Friday night, the Bucks sure did Saturday.
The Heat responded to Milwaukee's double-digit halftime lead by going on a tear with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh outscoring the Bucks by 11.
The Heat outscored Milwaukee 27-13 in the third quarter (James, Wade and Bosh got 24 of those points) as the Heat erased a 12 point hole.
-- In the fourth, Miami didn't get that kind of offensive production from its All-Star trio -- and as has been the case this weekend -- didn't get much help from anyone else.
Of Miami's starting five, the Big 3 ended with 62 points.
Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers scored a total of eight.
"It's always been tough for us to play them,'' Wade said. "It's always a battle. They did their job and used their energy in the fourth quarter. They took a lead and we couldn't come back.''
-- In the fourth, James had just two points before finding the bench for garbage time as Milwaukee was rolling.
Wade had six in the fourth, but Bosh was held scoreless and Miami offered up little else.
-- The Heat, now 4-1 in the second game of a back-to-back set, concludes its four-game road trip Monday as it plays the Magic for the first time this season.
"Over the past 48 hours, things have not gone the way we've wanted them to,'' Spoelstra said.
-- The good news for Miami was James went over the 20-point mark for the 28th time this season.
That ties Boston's Kevin McHale (1986-87) for most consecutive 20-plus games to start a season for second place behind George Gervin.
James now takes aim at Gervin's record of 45 straight 20-point games to start a season. Gervin did it to start the 1981-82 campaign.
James holds the franchise record with 33 consecutive 20-point games dating back to last season. James has scored at least 20 in 49 straight games if last season's playoffs are counted.
-- Miami was without forward Udonis Haslem after he came down hard on his left shoulder early in Friday's game.
Haslem suffered a hard fall during the opening minutes of the Heat's loss at Detroit.
Haslem appeared to crack his left shoulder by landing on a camera operator sitting underneath the basket after going up for a block.
Miami took time as Haslem clutched his shoulder and slowly walked toward the Heat bench. Haslem never left the game.
"U.D. is very sore with his shoulder,'' Spoelstra said before the game.
-- With Haslem out, Spoelstra turned to the lightly used Josh Harrellson in the second quarter.
Harrellson played 8:18 in the second quarter alone -- more than he's played in any game this season (previous high: 4:02 vs. Brooklyn) -- and almost as much as he had played the entire season.
By the end of the game, Spoelstra emptied his bench -- although he kept Rashard Lewis on it for the fifth straight game.
Miami's lineup with three minutes left: Harrellson, Norris Cole, James Jones, Joel Anthony and Terrel Harris.
-- If you were watching Friday's Heat game on television and thought Miami had things in control after a dominant first quarter, you weren't alone.
"I was feeling just like y'all were feeling early on,'' said Wade, who watched the Detroit telecast from the team's downtown hotel. "I thought it was going to be a good night.''
It wasn't. Miami led the host Pistons by 15 going into the second quarter but were flat after that as Detroit rallied for a 109-99 win.
Wade was suspended for Friday's game after kicking Charlotte's Ramon Sessions in the groin during Wednesday's win and wasn't allowed to be in the arena.
"They played good and we didn't play as well obviously,'' Wade said before Saturday's game. "Offensively we played well but we didn't defensively. They had a lot of open shots and have confidence. They got it rolling.''
Wade, a Marquette product, was warmly greeted by the Bradley Center crowd as he usually is. Marquette retired Wade's No. 3 in 2007 and his number and likeness is on a banner than hangs from the arena rafters.
-- Wade wasn't the only Heat player having a homecoming of sorts on Saturday as Ray Allen started his NBA career with the Bucks in 1996.
Allen missed Wednesday's game with a shoulder injury suffered on Christmas but returned Friday.
"It feels a lot better,'' Allen said. "When you get older you don't respond as fast as you did when you were younger.''