Bucks attempt to keep cooking at home vs. Heat

NBA Basketball

The Milwaukee Bucks look to win their seventh consecutive home game as they host the Miami Heat on Saturday night.

After dropping four of their first five home games, the Bucks have not lost in Milwaukee since Nov. 5. They are averaging 114.3 points during their current home win streak.

Milwaukee is coming off a 97-93 loss to the Raptors on Thursday night that snapped its eight-game win streak. Jrue Holiday had a season-high 26 points to go along with eight assists and six rebounds. Khris Middleton added 22 points and eight rebounds on 8-of-20 shooting (40.0 percent), and Bobby Portis notched 15 points and 11 rebounds to post his seventh double-double of the season.

“I just loved the effort of the guys on the glass, on the boards, really all night. Both teams competed, credit to Toronto. They play hard, they play physical,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Our guys, the way they kind of responded and competed tonight, it was very good.”

The Bucks will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo for the second straight game as he nurses a calf injury. The two-time MVP dropped 40 points in his most recent game against the Hornets and is averaging 27.6 on the season.

Brook Lopez remains inactive after undergoing back surgery, but Milwaukee now has added depth at the center position after signing DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year deal. Cousins missed the game against Toronto due to a sore foot, but is probable for the meeting with Miami. He had seven points and four rebounds in his debut on Wednesday.

Following back-to-back losses, the Heat earned a 113-104 win against Indiana on Friday night. Kyle Lowry finished with 26 points and nine assists. Duncan Robinson had 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting (63.6 percent), and Tyler Herro recorded 18. Omer Yurtseven and Gabe Vincent also both chipped in 12 off the bench.

Injuries have decimated Miami’s roster, as the team will be without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo for the matchup with the Bucks. Butler is expected to be sidelined with a back injury, and Adebayo will need surgery on his right thumb to repair a torn UCL. Markieff Morris will also be out with a neck injury, and Victor Oladipo is without a timeline to return.

“Collectively as a group we’ll make the necessary adjustments. When you lose an All-Star player it’s never easy, but this is the league,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We just have to weather the storm, and recalibrate, and figure out a new plan, new direction, which our guys are very capable of doing.”

Although Miami is short-handed, Herro said the team has the right mindset to combat the injuries.

“It’s always next man up. That’s always been our motto since I’ve been here,” Herro said. “We just got to continue to fight and compete.”

The Heat have been efficient offensively this season and have shot at least 43 percent from the field in 11 of their last 12 games. Miami has struggled from deep, however, and has not shot over 40 percent from 3-point range since Nov. 15.

Last time Milwaukee faced the Heat, Miami came away with a 137-95 victory on Oct. 21 in its season opener.

–Field Level Media

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