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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat Preview: Bucks Kick Off Crucial Stretch

Tip-off is scheduled for 12:00pm (central)

NBA: Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Sunday morning, everyone! In an early matinee matchup, your Milwaukee Bucks will face off against the Miami Heat.

Bucks Update

The Bucks are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and fans aren’t sure what to do with them right now. They were recently boatraced by Indiana, took care of business against Orlando, then got handled late by Golden State after a promising first half. Putting the record aside, though, the team hasn’t appeared to find any sort of groove despite enjoying a relatively clear injury list.

Starting today, the Bucks’ next four games are crucial for their playoff positioning, and fans aren’t exactly optimistic about their chances:

Player To Watch: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis does everything for the Bucks, and while it might not be fair to him, he remains Milwaukee’s best chance at winning anything of consequence. Against the Heat, as well as subsequent opponents, Giannis will be the best player on the floor and could not only reestablish himself as a top candidate for Most Valuable Player, but refocus the Bucks as a unit as they move through January.

Heat Update

Unlike the Bucks, Miami is very much a team on the upswing, having captured the inside track on the 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, and sitting only 1.5 games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ve been doing it with some significant injuries as well; Dion Waiters and Rodney McGruder are out for the year, but the Heat will have available Tyler Johnson (neck), Justise Winslow (knee), and James Johnson (suspension).

Player To Watch: Hassan Whiteside

The Bucks’ frontcourt duo is all too often outmuscled for rebounds, and there are few better at outmuscling for boards than Whiteside, who ranks 9th in the league in total rebounds per-36 minutes. Whiteside struggled with some injuries earlier in the season, but his presence will dictate how well (or how poorly) the rebounding battle goes for Milwaukee.