Tonight at 7:30 EST, the Heat will host the Milwaukee Bucks at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. This will be the third of four contests between the two this season. The Heat took a 96-73 win on November 17th at home, and lost 116-108 in Milwaukee last week (more on that below). They’ll close their season series on February 8th back in Wisconsin.
Miami, although they’re just 13-30 on the season, enter this contest on a two-game win-streak (after losing 10 of their previous 11). They’re playing in the third game of a four-game homestand, after defeating the Houston Rockets, 109-103 and the Dallas Mavericks, 99-95 (more on that below). They’ll finish the stand on Monday night against the Golden State Warriors.
Milwaukee, at 20-22, come into this contest having lost four straight and six-of-eight. This is the final game for them of their current three-game road trip. They lost the first two, 111-92 to the Rockets and 112-96 to the Orlando Magic (more on that below). After this, they’ll head back to the Harris Bradley Center to host the Rockets on Monday and the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.
The last time Miami faced the Bucks was on January 13th, at the BMO Center in Milwaukee. The Bucks came away with a 116-108 victory behind a 24-points, five-board performance from Jabari Parker. Greg Monroe pitched in 16 points and 11 rebounds off the bench, and 6’10” point forward Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 19 with eight and six assists. Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic led the Heat with 19 points each, and Luke Babbitt scored a season high 16.
The first half was what got us in trouble. There is no excuse for us not to come out harder. - Babbitt
Miami’s last game was a 99-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Goran Dragic led the Heat with 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including a perfect four-for-four from outside, six rebounds and a pair of helpers. Tyler Johnson had 23 points off the bench, Hassan Whiteside scoed 13 with eight rebounds, and Dion Waiters had 12 with three assists and three boards. The Mavs, just like in most of their games over the last 19 years, were led by Dirk Nowitzki, in a 19 point, four rebound performance. Wesley Matthews had 18 with five boards, Harrison Barnes and Seth Curry scored 15 each, and JJ Barea scored 13 in 16 minutes off the bench.
We worked hard for this, the whole team. We lost a lot of close games, but we’re getting better in those close games and we feel like tonight we defended well, the ball was moving, and we made the right plays. - Goran Dragic
The last action for Milwaukee was a 112-96 loss to the Orlando Magic, last night at Amway Center. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 17 with 14 rebounds and five assists in defeat, bolstered by 25 points, six points and six helpers from Jabari Parker. Malcolm Brogdon scored 16 with five assists for them. Elfrid Payton led seven Magic players in double figures with 20 points, six assists, four rebounds, and three steals. Jeff Green had 18 and seven rebounds off the bench, Aaron Gordon scored 17 with eight rebounds, and Bismack Biyombo had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and four rejections off the bench.
If we don’t score the ball we tend to take a step back. Those were the things we were talking about. - Bucks coach Jason Kidd
GameTime: 7:30 Eastern Time
All-Time Heat-2-Head: Miami is 62-41 all-time against the Bucks, a .602 winning percentage which ranks as their fourth best against any team.
Miami Heat: 13-30, .302, 12 games behind division leading Atlanta. On pace for 25-57 season. Fifth in the Southeast Division, 14th in the Eastern Conference, 29th in the NBA.
Milwaukee Bucks: 20-22, .476, 10.5 games behind division leading Cleveland. On pace for 43-39. Fourth in the Central Division, ninth in the Eastern Conference, 16th in the NBA.
Probable Starting Lineups
PG - Goran Dragic
SG - Dion Waiters
C - Hassan Whiteside
SF - Rodney McGruder
PF - Luke Babbitt
PG - Malcolm Brogdon
SG - Tony Snell
C - John Henson
SF - Giannis Antetokounmpo
PF - Jabari Parker
Check back here for the gamethread, coming up later.