Winners of five in a row at home, five in a row against the Heat and just a week removed from a double-digit win in Miami, the Milwaukee Bucks have plenty of reasons to be confident heading into their Friday night affair with Dwyane Wade and company at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
What could go wrong?
As it turns out, probably a lot.
While they've been on a hot streak at home, the Bucks will also be just 24 hours removed from a 103-83 thumping in Memphis that saw the Grizzlies become the latest team to carve up the Bucks' second half defense. While Giannis Antetokounmpo was capping off a miserable night with a fourth quarter ejection, Matt Barnes and Jeff Green came off the bench to hit 7/14 threes -- all while the Bucks missed all but one of their 16 attempts. Unfortunately it was an all-too familiar sight for the Bucks, who compounded their usual deficit from behind the arc by shooting just 37% overall.
No definitieve word yet on the status of John Henson (questionable with a sore back). While O.J. Mayo (hamstring) and Greivis Vasquez (ankle) continue to be out, Henson was a surprise addition to the Bucks' injury list on Wednesday and didn't travel with the team to Memphis, allowing Miles Plumlee to find some minutes (and put up a solid 6 points, 5 rebs, 2 stl, 2 blk in 19 minutes).
Heat Scouting Report
The Bucks will be hoping to match the performance they delivered in Miami, where they held the injury-riddled Heat to just 37% shooting and just 79 points overall. Goran Dragic (calf), Tyler Johnson (shoulder) and Josh McRoberts (knee) are all listed as questionable while Hassan Whiteside (hip) and Chris Andersen is out, so health figures to be a major x-factor again tonight.
On the bright side, the Heat have won two in a row -- fairly close games against the Bulls and Nets -- after losing four in a row. They'll start Amare Stoudemire at center, which normally would sound like a good thing for the Bucks until you consider that Stoudemire has for whatever reason had his way with the Bucks in the post even as he's declined. The upside for the Bucks is the massive drop-off defensively from Whiteside to Stoudemire, which should provide lots of chances for Greg Monroe to score down low.
Thursday's loss returned the Bucks to their familiar spot: 5.0 games back of 8th seeded Indiana and 13th overall in the East. In case you haven't been following it too closely, they've seemingly been 13th and 5.0 games back of the 8th spot ALL FRIGGIN' SEASON.
On the Heat: Hot Hot Hoops
|2015/16 NBA Season|
|January 29, 2016|
|BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee|
|FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|Michael Carter-Williams||PG||Goran Dragic|
|Khris Middleton||SG||Dwyane Wade|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||SF||Luol Deng|
|Jabari Parker||PF||Chris Bosh|
|Greg Monroe||C||Amare Stoudemire|
|2015/16 Advanced Stats|
|93.6 (24th)||Pace||92.1 (29th)|
|103.1 (21st)||ORtg||103.0 (26th)|
|109.3 (29th)||DRtg||103.1 (8th)|