Still smarting from a poor performance on Dec. 22, the Milwaukee Bucks have something to prove to the Miami Heat.
With the Bucks holding the best record in the Eastern Conference and the Heat holding the eighth-best mark, it’s possible the two teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bucks lost to the Heat in Miami on Dec. 22, scoring season-lows for a game and a quarter. The Bucks scored just eight points in the first quarter of a 94-87 loss. In fact, the Bucks have lost five straight games in Miami.
So it would behoove them tonight to not let the Heat get any ideas of one of those rare 8-over-1 upsets in the first round of the playoffs.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to nine points in 33 minutes of that Dec. 22 game, the only game this season he’s failed to reach double figures.
He want 3 for 12 that night, and the Bucks went just 31 for 84 (36%).
The Bucks hammered the Heat, 124-86, at Fiserv Forum on Jan. 15, but a road victory — snapping that five-game skid in Miami — would make a statement for the possible first-round matchup. The two teams meet again in Milwaukee next Friday to close the season series.
The Bucks are expecting the return of backup veteran guard George Hill, who has missed the last nine games after suffering a strained groin Feb. 23 at Minnesota.
The Bucks snapped a three-game road losing streak with a 130-113 victory Tuesday at New Orleans.
Shooting guard Josh Richardson leads the Heat in scoring at 17.2 points, and center Hassan Whiteside averages 12.8 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots.