Bucks vs Heat Game Preview
24 Games to go- 6:30 PM Tip Off
Game is Nationally Televised on ESPN
Hopefully you had a restful All-Star Break! NBA hoops are back!
Your 41-17 Milwaukee Bucks take on the 32-27 Miami Heat Friday Night in downtown Milwaukee at the Fiserv Forum on ESPN at noon. The Deer District will be rocking! Milwaukee is 1-2 on the season against the Heat. However, the Heat are only 13-17 on the road. (Milwaukee is 23-5 at home.) All eyes will be on new roster additions Jae Crowder and Meyers Leonard, both former Heat players. At this point it looks like everyone will play except for Giannis. He injured his hand trying to block a shot against Chicago.
Related: Bucks Sign Controversial Center Meyers Leonard
Milwaukee is riding a 12 game winning streak. However, the sharks in Vegas only have them as 1 point favorites. (The computer gives them a 62% chance to win.) It promises to be a fun filled regular season NBA game with little defense happening until the 4th quarter.
The keys for the Bucks
Score over 118 points
This feels like a magic number for Milwaukee. The last time they lost they only scored 102 points.
Milwaukee averages 60 points in the first half in games at home. That’s 7th in the NBA. 118 is really starting to feel like a “magic number”.
For whatever reason, around 118 points has almost guaranteed a win. The Bucks need to generate offense by shooting threes and driving the ball to the basket. Ingles, Allen, Lopez, and even AJ Green have all been effective shooters so far. Can Milwaukee finally start to shoot well from the outside at a more consistent clip? What do Crowder and even Leonard add to that mix?
Milwaukee ranks 15h in the NBA at 36.% from behind the arc. At home Milwaukee shoots better from three. ( 37%) Milwaukee is built to make threes- it is time to sink ’em.
Where does Miami rank? In terms of team three point shooting they are third to last (28th) in the NBA. That could be a huge advantage for Milwaukee in a game that could get away from Miami if Milwaukee out shoots them.
Pass the Basketball
The Bucks average 24.8 assists per game. That is right in the middle of the NBA-17th overall. When the Bucks move the ball around, they win. Jrue leads the team in assists. But don’t discount when Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles make great passes. It really drives the offense.
Take the recent game against Denver. They were out “assisted” by Denver 22-16. The Bucks won, sure, but to only have 16 assists isn’t very good. And of course, Denver was playing the “B” squad.
When Milwaukee makes the extra pass, they look like an NBA Champion.
The Opponent: The Miami Heat
The Heat did not make any moves before the NBA trading deadline. Many had wondered if they might move guard Kyle Lowry. Someone they are committed to is shooting guard Tyler Herro.
Herro is a Milwaukee native, having attended Whitnall High School in Greenfield Wisconsin. (Whitnall recently retired his number #14). 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.
Eric Spolstra 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…
Bam Adebayo is a really interesting player. As an all-star captain Giannis really showed him some “love”. At only 25, he seems to be coming into his prime. Averaging 21 points and 10 rebounds per game, Adebayo really is the engine that drives the Heat, even more so than point guard Kyle Lowry.
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.
Things to tell your buddies as you are watching the game
- Miami was 81 degrees yesterday.
- The NBA All-Star game had the lowest viewership numbers ever.
- Jae Crowder had a cup of coffee with Miami, coming over in a trade from Memphis in 2019. He averaged 12 points in 27 minutes per game with the Heat.
- Milwaukee is leading the NBA in team rebounding. (Guess who is second? Memphis.) Crowder should only help with team defense and team rebounding.
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!