Last season, the Bucks definitely had the Miami Heat’s number. They swept the season series against them, winning all four meetings, including the game of the year where Khris Middleton drilled a miraculous three-pointer as time expired. Tonight’s game in South Beach marks the first meeting of the year between the two teams.
Looking at simply the roster for Miami and gauging how the Bucks have played in the past week, they have a fairly decent shot at pulling out the victory tonight. Miami is going to be thin on the floor, with Beno Udrih (neck), Chris Andersen (knee), Josh McRoberts (knee) and Goran Dragic (calf) all ruled out for tonight’s action. However, the Bucks were unable to topple the Wizards last week when they were limited on players. Milwaukee will hope for a different outcome in a similar situation tonight.
That being said, the Bucks will need to limit any second chance opportunities the Heat may receive tonight. Center Hassan Whiteside is a rebounding machine down low for Miami so Greg Monroe will be working hard. It all comes back to the fundamentals of getting a body on an opponent at all time and making sure to not take any plays off. Whiteside is one of the league leaders in rebounding and he will make you pay if he is not properly taken care of.
The Heat also sport one of the best defenses in the league. In fact, they boast the second best defense in the league at allowing only 95.5 points per game. The matchup between them and the Bucks will be intriguing, not due to the scoring firepower Milwaukee possesses, but rather their ability to pass the basketball. Milwaukee currently sits at seventh in the league in passing the rock. For such a limitless scoring team at times, it really is absurd how high they are in passing in the league. An extra pass or two may be the difference in the Bucks scoring and not scoring on a possession.
Lastly, the Bucks will need to rely on the scoring output of Khris Middleton. He has hit the ground running this month, averaging 21.8 points in the month of January. In the last ten games, he is averaging 22.9 points and is shooting a tick over 50 percent. He’s not just doing it from behind the arch either. In fact, his last game was one of the rare occasions where he put up 20 points without knocking down a single three-pointer, signifying his ability of shifting from his one-dimensional game. However, I don’t think Bucks fans would be complaining if he hit a couple threes in tonight’s game.