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PreHeat: Heat (54-23) look to sweep dramatic series against Bucks (31-45)

Home Away
Miami Milwaukee
Heat Bucks
54-23 Record 31-45
(3rd) 111.6 Off Rtg 101.5 (30th)
(5th) 103.7 Def Rtg 102.6 (4th)
(20th) 91.1 Pace 89.6 (26th)
(8th) 102.3 Pts/G 91.6 (30th)
(7th) 95.0 Opp Pts/G 92.6 (3rd)
(9th) 42.3 Rebs/G 41.1 (17th)
(27th) 19.9 Assists/G 18.7 (30th)
Likely Starters
Mike Bibby PG Brandon Jennings
Dwyane Wade SG John Salmons
LeBron James SF Carlos Delfino
Chris Bosh PF Luc Mbah a Moute
Erick Dampier C Andrew Bogut
Mike Miller 6th Drew Gooden
Matchup Series 3-0
American Airlines Arena
8:00 PM EST
ESPN / Sun Sports / 1080 AM
Injury Report:
Heat: Udonis Haslem (left foot surgery - out indefinitely)
Dwyane Wade (bruised right thigh - game time decision)
Bucks: Jon Brockman (sprained shoulder - day to day)
Ersan Ilyasova (concussion - out indefinitely)
Carlos Delfino (bruised rib cage - day to day)

The Miami Heat receive a visit from the playoff dark horse Milwaukee Bucks, broadcasted by ESPN on what was likely a summer scheduling decision hinging on the Bucks’ playoff contention. Unfortunately, although not mathematically erased, the Bucks would have to commit a Kerrigan on about 50 players spanning 5 or 6 teams and go super nova for the rest of the season to ultimately reach the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. First, they’ll have to down trot the Heat as usual, put them in a ballistic grind-lock and hope Wade properly rests his injury to have a chance at avoiding a 0-4 sweep Miami sweep this season.

For those of you who might not recall, or live on instant gratification as most of us sports fans do, the 3-0 series so far has been quite memorable. The first match paved the way to what is arguably the Photograph of the Year and candidate for Top 100 if there was a Top 100, Wade’s 14 career-high rebounds, and Carlos Arroyo’s *nostalgic tear* season-high 18 points (stands true today) in a grinding 88-78 victory where the Heat held the Bucks to 35% shooting from the field. The win would be number 5 of the Heat’s monumental 12-game winning streak, their longest this season.

Victories two and three came in a scheduling hiccup of back-to-back games against the same Bucks, one home and one away. A 101-89 victory at home got physical with Coach Skiles being called for his 2nd technical foul after incidentally bumping into Carlos Arroyo mid-game but not being ejected, as it was not considered un-sportsmanlike. Three days later, Miami visited Milwaukee and sold out their arena for the first time in their season, putting on a dramatic show. Up by 2 points, an inbounds pass was dropped by Arroyo giving way to an Earl Boykins (playing in place of the injured Jennings once again) buzzer-beater floater over the outstretched arms of Ilgauskas to tie it and send it into overtime. Miami would hold the Bucks to 4 points and finish their business in OT, coming away with the 101-95 victory.

The Milwaukee Bucks are apparently the yin to the Miami Heat’s yang this season -- both contrary forces interdependent of each other’s theatrical magnets. They are long removed from scaring higher seeds in the playoffs as they did to the Hawks last season, taking them to 7 games in the 1st round, but are still a team unafraid of their identity, willing to grind it out on their terms for 48 minutes. Just might be the perfect game to test the Heat’s mettle before the Celtics visit on Sunday. Here we go again…