If the Milwaukee Bucks want to end the Miami Heat's five-game winning streak, they'll likely need a fast start.
Coming off back-to-back losses marred by poor starts, the Bucks will look to improve their 18-12 home record when they welcome Miami to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Wednesday evening.
For the second game in the row, the Bucks were pounded early in the first quarter on Monday against the Bulls, digging a hole that they ultimately couldn't overcome. Sunday against the Thunder they were obliterated 32-12 while shooting 13 percent in the first quarter, and Monday in Chicago they again fell behind thanks to a five-minute scoring drought. Despite pulling back to within four points in both games, they ended up losing both to drop them to a season-worst 12 games below .500.
In Chicago, Pau Gasol recorded his second triple-double of the season with 12 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists. The Bulls recorded a season-high 35 assists on 39 made baskets and finally held an opponent to under 100 points after allowing the last 16 to do so.
Jerryd Bayless led the Bucks with 20 points off the bench, while Giannis Antetokounmpo fell short of another triple-double but still managed 12 points, 10 assists and five rebounds -- the fifth time in eight games that he's cracked double-digits in assists. Jabari Parker finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds in his homecoming and was particularly impressive during an aggressive third quarter.
Earlier this week, the Bucks announced that point guard Michael Carter-Williams will miss the remainder of the season with a torn labrum in his right hip, opening up more playing time for rookie Rashad Vaughn and second-year guard Tyler Ennis down the stretch.
In other injury news, center John Henson hasn't played since injuring his back January 26 against the Magic, and he'll miss his 18th straight game tonight. However, head coach Jason Kidd said earlier this week that Henson was able to participate in 3-on-3 work last Saturday, so there might be an update this evening regarding his status going forward.
It seems like every time the Heat visit Milwaukee, Dwyane Wade reminds people of the great shots he's hit inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center. And every time, he does it with a calm, relaxing, "I've got this" demeanor. Last time in Milwaukee, Wade led the way for Miami with 24 points, seven assists and a clutch 19-footer with 44.5 seconds left to break a tie against the Bucks. Don't be surprised if the Heat need Wade to do something similar tonight.
With Chris Bosh out indefinitely following a recurrence of the blood clots that ended his 14-15 season, Miami responded by signing former Net Joe Johnson on Feb. 27. Johnson has made an immediate impact, averaging 14 points on 60.4 percent shooting to help the Heat win a season-high five in a row. Johnson has also done immediate damage from the 3-point line, going 8-for-12.
Aside from Bosh, Tyler Johnson (shoulder) is also out while center Hassan Whiteside is expected to play despite an illness. While Miami is 6-3 without Whiteside this season, both Whiteside and the Heat have hit their stride since Amare Stoudemire recently replaced him in the starting five.
For Your Listening Pleasure:
On the Heat: Hot Hot Hoops
|2015/16 NBA Season|
|March 9, 2016|
|BMO Harris Bradley Center | Milwaukee, WI|
|FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ|
|O.J. Mayo||PG||Goran Dragic|
|Khris Middleton||SG||Dwyane Wade|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||SF||Joe Johnson|
|Jabari Parker||PF||Luol Deng|
|Miles Plumlee||C||Amar'e Stoudemire|
|2014/15 Advanced Stats|
|94.5 (22nd)||Pace||93.5 (25th)|
|104.1 (23rd)||ORtg||104.1 (24th)|
|108.4 (23rd)||DRtg||103.0 (5th)|