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GAME PREVIEW: Heat get set for tough road test at Milwaukee

The Bucks will be seeking revenge after being embarrassed by the Heat in their first matchup.

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

GAME STORY

The Miami Heat (14-9) beat the Indiana Pacers last night on the road and continue onwards tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks (14-9) in a much-anticipated rematch.

Miami took apart Milwaukee in their home season opener with an eye-opening 137-95 blowout victory. Tyler Herro scored 27 points in 24 minutes off the bench to lead Miami. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 15 points to lead Milwaukee and Khris Middleton had just 10 points. The Bucks were shorthanded that night without Jrue Holiday, Brook Lopez, and Bobby Portis but this time it will be Miami missing key players with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler both out.

Milwaukee is healthier now — even with Lopez still out — and are much improved as a result while quickly climbing back up the standings. They are tied with the Heat and the Washington Wizards with the same 14-9 record, while the No. 1 Brooklyn Nets and the No. 2 Chicago Bulls also get set to face each other tonight — with both games set to shake up the top of the Eastern Conference standings at their conclusion.

Antetokounmpo is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game with a sore right calf after missing their last game, a 97-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night that ended an eight-game winning streak. He had 40 points, nine assists and 12 rebounds as well as the game-winning lay-up in 38 minutes against the Charlotte Hornets in their prior game.

The KEY MATCHUP tonight is Antetokounmpo (assuming he plays), who is scoring 27.6 points per game and averaging 11.8 rebounds, against several Heat defenders — who must try to contain him by committee since Miami’s best defender against the Finals MVP will be out for an extended time. Dewayne Dedmon and former Bucks player PJ Tucker will have their hands full trying to be aggressive against the athletic Greek Freak without getting into foul trouble. However, without Lopez roaming about in the paint and beyond the arc to worry about, expect the Heat to trap Antetokounmpo into making poor decisions with the ball in transition as they did so effectively in the NBA bubble. Will their shooters make the Heat pay for this tactic?

Tucker will also receive his Bucks championship ring at the game tonight.

ODDS: FiveThirtyEight gives the Heat a slim 13% chance to win the game.

HEAT VS PACERS: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4 AT 8:00 P.M.

INJURIES

MIAMI:

  • Victor Oladipo: out (knee; surgery rehab)
  • Markieff Morris: out (whiplash)
  • Bam Adebayo: out (thumb)
  • Jimmy Butler: out (tailbone)

MILWAUKEE:

  • Donte DiVincenzo: out (foot)
  • Semi Ojeleye: out (calf)
  • Brook Lopez: out (back)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo: day to day (calf)
  • DeMarcus Cousins: day to day (conditioning)
  • George Hill: day to day (knee)

LINEUPS

Projected Starters

Celtics Position Heat
Celtics Position Heat
Marcus Smart PG Kyle Lowry
Jaylen Brown SG Max Strus
Jayson Tatum SF Jimmy Butler
Al Horford PF PJ Tucker
Robert Williams III C Bam Adebayo

BROADCAST INFO

TV: Bally Sports Sun, NBA League Pass
RADIO: The Ticket 790AM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson, Ruth Riley Hunter)
SPANISH RADIO: WAQI 710AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda, Joe Pujala)

Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!