Miami Heat Can Climb Standings With Win Over Bucks


Tonight’s game between the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks has potential playoff implications. Check out the start time, TV info, preview and more.

Start Time: 7:30 EST
Location: Game will be played in Miami at the AmericanAirlines Arena
TV Info: Broadcast on Fox Sports and via NBA League Pass
Radio: 104.3 The Ticket

The Bucks have had Miami’s number this season. Let that sink in for a minute.

In two previous meetings, Milwaukee has managed to win both in convincing fashion, something that still seems impossible to consider. That certainly wasn’t the case during the now-gone “Big 3” era and it hasn’t been possible with the Bucks wallowing in mediocrity for much of the past decade.

That’s not the case anymore.

Coach Jason Kidd (tell me that doesn’t sound wrong, too…) has done the unexpected, turning around the team with his unconventional lineups and trying to infuse a winning attitude. The Bucks are 22-22 and currently hold the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference standings, a spot the Heat (20-24) envision holding at the end of the season. Milwaukee has achieved this while losing their star rookie (Jabari Parker) to a season-ending knee injury; the team has gone 10-10 since Parker went down.

While they’re still far from dominant, Kidd’s group is winning enough to keep pace in the East playoff race.

Guard Brandon Knight is arguably their best player, a matchup that bears watching as Miami’s point guards have had problems defensively for most of the season. Knight’s improved to 17.9 points per game, while shooting 40 percent from 3-point range. Giannis Antetokounmpo is Milwaukee’s “Swiss Army knife,” a lanky 6’11 forward that plays multiple positions on the court while using his ridiculous length and raw athleticism to create mismatches (something the Bucks have done well in their wins over Miami this season).

Of course, the Heat will try to exploit their sudden advantage at center, where Hassan Whiteside‘s historic performance against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday still has fans giddy. Whiteside will now have to deal with building a reputation as a rim-protector and high-percentage scorer and how teams will start playing him differently. The Bucks trot out Zaza Pachulia (who’s carved out a mysteriously long, solid career in the NBA) at center, not exactly a productive threat. But he’s savvy enough to have played for 11 years in the league and will likely try to exploit that against Whiteside.

Miami still depends on their veteran leaders – Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng – to set the pace and they’ll need to show that same consistency seen against Chicago. Especially if they hope to do something they haven’t done since the start of the season; win three games in a row.

If they hope to keep climbing their way up the standings, tonight’s game is an important statement to make. Just another win but, more importantly, a sign of how much things have changed for the Heat in recent history.

Check back with All U Can Heat for a full recap, post-game grades, analysis and more.

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