Bucks (24-44, 6-27 road, 13th East) @ Heat (12-57, 6-29 home, 15th East) @
Bucks Stats: Offense 21st (102.5 pts/100 poss), Defense 30th (109.4), Rebounding 17th (.501 rr), Pace 20th (93.3)
Heat Stats: Offense 29th (98.8 pts/100 poss), Defense 26th (107.2), Rebounding 30th (.473 rr), Pace 16th (93.5)
Bucks Injuries: Charlie Bell is day-to-day after suffering a sprained knee against Cleveland.
Heat Injuries: Shawn Marion has missed three straight games with back spasms and is questionable. Dwyane Wade has been shelved for the season because of knee troubles, while Dorell Wright and Alonzo Mourning are also out with knee injuries. Udonis Haslem is out for the season with ankle surgery. Marcus Banks is also out.
07/08 Series: 2-1 Bucks. Milwaukee dispatched the Heat 103-98 in South Beach on January 2nd, and then won a week later at home 98-92. The Heat shocked the Bucks a week ago by scoring 40 fourth quarter points in their 112-106 win in Milwaukee.
- In a season full of lows, the Bucks bottomed out a week ago with their 112-106 loss at home to a Heat team decimated by injuries. The Bucks bounced back Saturday with an impressive 108-98 win over the Cavs, with Mo Williams leading the way with 29 points (9/11 fg) and 13 assists. But while the Bucks haven't forgotten the embarrassing loss to the Heat last week, Charles Gardner writes that they're not getting carried away with their revenge mission:
"I think the way we should approach the (Miami) game is kind of the way we approached the (Cleveland) game," said forward Desmond Mason. "If we start going out thinking (about revenge) and we’ve got to beat this team or look what they did to us, I think you lose your focus of what you want to do.
"I think you start pressing if you do that. If you get into a little bit of a bad situation, you get a little tight. I think we should just go out and have fun and play and enjoy basketball and play the game hard."
- The Heat followed up their win in Milwaukee with a laughable 96-54 loss in Toronto followed by losses on Friday and Saturday to Washington and Charlotte. They are now 1-11 in March and rooted to the bottom of the league standings, four wins behind the Sonics. The Heat are the only team whose record at home is worse than the Bucks' record on the road.
- The Bucks got a boost on Saturday by the return of Andrew Bogut, who missed the Heat loss last week with a bruised thigh. Bogut's still wearing a wrap on the thigh, but he managed a 16/15 night against the Cavs. Despite the team's disappointing season, Gardner writes that Bogut is hoping to have an extension signed by the time he leaves for Australia's Olympic training camp.
Bogut said his agent, David Bauman, was insisting that a longer contract be signed before the center can go to camp with the Australian team, because of the injury risk involved. If Bogut played with his national team and was injured, he could jeopardize future earnings.
He is scheduled to make $6.3 million next season in the final year of his rookie-scale contract.
"From what I hear, it's positive so far, and we'll see what happens," Bogut said of the Bucks' interest. "They've got to get it done quickly, too. I've got national team stuff. If it drags on for too long, I probably won't sign it. I need to get back with my national team, and I can't work out until I sign that option."
The third and fourth years of a rookie deal are team options, so Bogut's reference to "signing an option" is a bit of a misnomer. Even if he signs an extension, it won't replace the deal he has in place for next year, but instead it would kick-in starting with the 09/10 season.
- Jason Williams had 21 points and 10 assists in the win in Milwaukee, and scored 19 with eight assists in the loss on Saturday to the Bobs.
- The Heat's injury woes has been good news for D-Leaguers: Blake Ahearn, Stephane Lasme, and Kasib Powell have all gotten called up to the big show in recent weeks. The Warriors drafted Lasme in the second round last June and later released him, but the undersized shot-blocking dynamo from UMass made an impression against Charlotte, scoring seven points and blocking three shots in 25 minutes. Despite standing only 6'7", Lasme led the NCAA in blocks last season (5.1 bpg) and tied an NCAA record with four triple doubles in one season.
- For more on Ahearn, check out Matt Moore's profile at Hardwood Paroxysm. Ahearn scored 45 in a D-League game earlier this month, and his 96% clip from the line shouldn't be too surprising since he's the NCAA's career ft% leader.
- The Sun-Sentinel's Ira Winderman has all you need to know about the Heat.