After the shortest off-season ever, the NBA is back! The daily preview breaks down the shorthanded Miami Heat’s home clash with a bristling Milwaukee Bucks.
11:30 (AEDT), Wed 30th Dec @ American Airlines Arena, Miami
History: Played 124: Heat 78 V Bucks 46
Last meeting: September 8, 2020 (Playoffs): Heat 103 d Bucks 94 at HP Field House
Final Thoughts: Eastern Conference favourites Milwaukee Bucks head to Miami desperate to improve on a 1-2 record. But revenge will also be on Giannis Antetokounmpo and co.’s minds after being unceremoniously dumped out of the 2020 NBA Playoffs by the Heat. It’s also the first of back-to-back games between the high-profile sides.
The Jimmy Butler-led Heat stunned the top-seeded Bucks 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The Bucks have bookended a 39-point thrashing of the Warriors with a first-up one-point loss to the Celtics and a glaring 20-point defeat to the unfancied Knicks. Dismal three-point shooting was partly to blame for the shock result.
Antetokounmpo has started the season in typically industrious style, averaging 25.7 points and 13 rebounds. But key recruit Jrue Holiday has had a couple of quiet outings.
The 1-1 Heat bounced back from their 113-107 loss in Orlando with a 111-98 victory over the Pelicans. Butler suffered an ankle injury in the win, however, and is doubtful to take the floor against the Bucks. Bam Adebayo has made a strong start for Miami and will be expected to lift in their talisman’s absence. Meanwhile, Goran Dragic appears to be thriving in his new bench role.
Miami have won 12 of their last 16 overall against Milwaukee, including two of the three 2019-20 regular-season clashes. The Bucks have won just one of their last seven in Miami.
The absence of gritty leader Butler hands a significant advantage to the visitors. The Bucks will be hell-bent on making a statement after getting embarrassed by the Knicks.
OTHER NBA GAMES
|Cleveland Cavaliers V New York Knicks||Handicap – Knicks +3.5 @ $1.87|
|Philadelphia 76ers V Toronto Raptors||Result – Raptors @ $2.00|
|Detroit Pistons V Golden State Warriors||Handicap – Warriors -4.5 @ $1.90|
|Indiana Pacers V Boston Celtics||Result – Pacers @ $1.85|
|Washington Wizards V Chicago Bulls||Handicap – Wizards -6.5 @ $1.93|
|Oklahoma City Thunder V Orlando Magic||Margin – Magic 1-10|
|Phoenix Suns V New Orleans Pelicans||Result – Suns @ $1.70|
|Sacramento Kings V Denver Nuggets||Result – Nuggets @ $1.74|
|LA Clippers V Minnesota Timberwolves||Margin – Clippers 11-20|