Heat face Bucks in likely first round matchup

USA TODAY Sports

Miami will play Milwaukee for the last time this season on April 9. at home. The game is a preview of a likely first round Eastern Conference playoff series, with both team's entrenched in the first and eighth seeds in the conference, respectively. The Heat are 2-1 this season vs. The Bucks.

The "maintenance program" is in full effect, and a handful of Heat rotation players could be taking a night off at any point during the last handful of games this season.

But for what it's worth, this Heat game against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 9. at 7:30 p.m. at the American Airlines Arena will be as appealing as any of the remaining six games on the regular calendar. The Bucks are firmly in position to make the playoffs with the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference, six games ahead and away of the Philadelphia 76ers, and unlikely to catch the Boston Celtics in the 7th hole.

The Heat, as we now, have long ago ran away with the first seed in the East. At the very least, this game will offer some matchups that will take place in the likely opening round matchup, as well as a last chance for the Heat to scout the Bucks in live action, and vice versa.

It's not like Milwaukee's inefficient offense and overall average play poses much of a threat to Miami, but the Bucks are 11th in the NBA in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) and can be a pesky group. The Heat are 2-1 against the Bucks this season, avoiding the regular season woes they had against he Bucks last year, when they lost three of four games to them. But the regular season results don't really tell us much about how this series will go. In the end, the process both team's have taken up to this point tells us all we need to know, barring an unforeseen upset.

NOTES

- In three April games, Mike Miller is averaging 16 points on 57 percent shooting, making 12-of-21 3-pointers. He's absolutely on fire, which is a little surprising considering he has played without the kick out's of Dwyane Wade for the entire stretch, and only had LeBron James by his side in one of them. The Heat's offensive habits of moving the basketball, to go along with Miller's assertiveness, and frankly, health, have allowed him to find a rhythm.

- Going for the record: I love the 1996-97 team as much as anyone. They were the first Miami Heat team to threaten for a title, and will forever be in our hearts. But it's about time they're franchise record of 61 wins in a season is broken. This current core should; have broken it already, and finally will at least tie it with a win vs. the Bucks.

- Want a random stat? Birdman has taken eight long-range (16-23 feet) jump shots this year. He's made three of them. They are random, funny, and amusing things to see.

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