Getting Jiggy with it in Miami
The 27-14 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 22-20 Miami Heat Thursday Evening in beautiful Miami, Florida. The Bucks will also play the Heat again on Saturday. Saturday’s game will be on ABC.
In this space we have made light of some earlier comments by Bucks guard George Hill that, “…at least we get to go somewhere warm.” Hopefully our guys enjoy the time in the sun and manage an NBA regular season “split”. For Milwaukee to have to play on a back-to-back, having defeated Atlanta last night, playing a good defensive Heat team, winning both is a tall order.
There are some interesting team stats that jump out at you right away with these two squads. Miami scores a league worst 108 points per game. They have managed an above .500 record because they only give up 109 points per game. They have a “grind it out” style. The Bucks can play a similar style if need be.
The Bucks are 11-9 away from the Fiserv forum. Miami is only 12-9 at home. Vegas has the Heat at a 61% chance to win the game. Miami is a 4-point favorite.
Really it all depends on who plays. Keep an eye out here for game-time updates.
The keys for the Bucks
Finish the game
What is going on at the ends of some of these games? The Bucks were cruising at halftime against the Hawks, only to surrender, then regain the lead, in the 4th quarter. Against Toronto the Bucks gave up a huge lead, forcing the game into OT. Against Chicago the same thing seemed to happen. Milwaukee needs to rediscover that lockdown 4th quarter defense they had to start the year when they were routinely allowing less than 24 points in the 4th.
Statistically, it almost is too obvious. Against Toronto the Bucks were up by 21 points with 3:50 remaining. Milwaukee ended up surrendering 38 points in the fourth quarter, barely winning it in overtime.
Miami is not known to be a high scoring team. Depending on who plays, Milwaukee needs to start and finish strong.
“Move your feet”- don’t reach
If you regularly read this space you know we are a little obsessed with Milwaukee’s quest to win the team rebounding title. But we are developing a new obsession, the relationship between the number of fouls the Bucks commit and the flow of the game.
Brook Lopez is in a statistical dead heat, tied for first in the NBA in blocks with Nic Claxton (2.6). To that end he is still “looking” to block first which has caused an uptick in fouls.
Right now, the Bucks average 19 ½ team fouls a game. Last year they only averaged 17.8. Hence the obsession: that does not seem like much, but it may be why we are seeing such streaky play in the 4th quarter. To be continued…
The Opponent: The Miami Heat
Tyler Herro is a Milwaukee native, having attended Whitnall High School in Greenfield Wisconsin. Herro, at the time, made a controversial move by verbally decommitting from the Wisconsin Badgers to attend the University of Kentucky. Hindsight being 20/20, the move could not have worked out better for him. He recently signed a 4 yr $130 million dollar contract extension. He is expecting his second child; his hoops career has been gang busters, and he is only 23 years old. His recent home purchase has also been in the news.
If Herro plays, he will give the Bucks trouble as he always has. He averages 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists against Milwaukee. These performances all come across 29 minutes per game. Herro’s ability to shoot the three and get to the arm of the paint sets him apart.
Jimmy Butler is also a Bonafide star for Miami. However, unlike Herro, his career stats against Milwaukee are not as strong (15/4/4). That doesn’t mean he won’t be up to play. He is averaging 22 points a game this season, above his career average.
Eric Spoelstra is still coaching for Miami. (First season was in 1997). He has won two NBA Championships with Miami and has helped instill a “heat culture” which is well-renowned in NBA circles. Basically, it goes like this: Miami is a great place to party. Heat players/fans/staff kinda lure the other team over to the party while the Heat players have this secret, killer long practices. Something like that…
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- Dewayne Dedmon threw a massage gun out onto the floor. It was weird!
- Giannis leads the Bucks in minutes (33 per game). Jrue Holiday is a close second (32 per game).
- The Miami Heat became an NBA franchise in 1988.
Follow me on Twitter at @authorrudylb and check out my other writings at www.rudylb.com. Check out the cool I-Heart Radio Podcast Gyro Step Podcast here. Follow us at @WiSportsHeroics for all things Wisconsin sports. Also, check out our merch store for some amazing WSH merchandise!