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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat Preview: Look Who’s Back

The Bucks take on one of their conference rivals yet again

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

The best part about Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat games is that, even when one or both teams are missing key players, there still seems to be plenty of juice to the matchup. That’ll be the case tonight when the Heat are once again without their two best players, but that doesn’t mean I would enjoy a Bucks win any less. Plus, it never hurts to start out a four-game road trip on the right foot.

Where We’re At

Essentially the same place as last Friday, when Milwaukee dismantled the Heat 124-102 despite no Giannis Antetokounmpo. Pat Connaughton paced the team with 23 points, while Khris Middleton added 22 and Bobby Portis tallied 19 to go with 16 boards. It was a thorough shellacking, featuring cheap shots from Tyler Herro on Portis, and the lamest of lame attempts to draw a charge at halfcourt by Dewayne Dedmon heading into half. Sandro Mamukelashvili also got his first career start in that one, but with Giannis back, I’d expect far less of the Sandman. Outside of the 112-104 Cleveland win, and the presence of a now 27-year-old Antetokounmpo, not much has changed from last Friday. We’ll see how hostile the Heat crowd is after their beatdown of this team to start the year.

Miami got Jimmy Butler back for their game against the Memphis Grizzlies, but they still fell 105-90 to the streaking, Ja-less Western Conference team. Since their hot start to the year, they’ve cooled off to the tune of 4-6 in their last 10 games, and are now two games behind the Bucks in the standings. They’re mixed up with the glut of teams from 4-12, with just 2.5 games separating them from the 12th ranked Raptors. Without Butler and Bam, they’re forced to rely upon Dedmon’s outside shooting, and especially the ball creation and shotmaking of Duncan Robinson and Herro. The latter was just 4-17 in Milwaukee last Saturday, while Robinson had only 11 points.

For Miami, they’re already without Bam Adebayo due to his thumb surgery, and will be missing a couple other frontcourt partners. Caleb Martin is also questionable and Victor Oladipo is out.

Meanwhile, good news for the Bucks in terms of injuries.

Player to Watch

Last time Giannis Antetokounmpo was in Miami, he was getting demolished while trying to lead a shorthanded squad against the Heat. Before that, he was shrugging off countdowns during his free throws en route to sweeping the team that had eliminated the Bucks from the playoffs in 2019-20. Now, with a nearly full squad, I’m excited to see what he can do against a Heat team without their most formidable interior defender and a whole host of questionable depth behind it. Something tells me, even with Giannis’s historic struggles in South Beach, we might be in for a treat.


Poll

Game 26: Against Miami, the Bucks will...

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (123 votes)
  • 27%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (53 votes)
  • 5%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (10 votes)
  • 2%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (5 votes)
191 votes total Vote Now

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