Thursday, March 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: Miami Heat (32-27) at Milwaukee Bucks (41-17)

The Milwaukee Bucks will host the visiting Miami Heat on Friday night as both teams resume play following the All-Star break.

Before the break, the Bucks defeated the Bulls 112-100 in Chicago on Thursday, despite Giannis Antetokounmpo missing nine minutes with a right wrist injury.

Brook Lopez led the way with 33 points, followed by 22 points from Jevon Carter, 15 from Jrue Holiday, and 15 points from AJ Green, who came off the bench and shot 5-for-7 from beyond the arc.

In the All-Star Game, Antetokounmpo played just enough to dunk on the first play and then leave. He has since had his wrist examined in New York, and it was determined that he had a sprained ligament, but he did not sustain any other serious injuries. ESPN reports that he will undergo treatment and should be able to return “once the pain subsides.”

On Feb. 15, Miami lost to the Nets 116-105 in its final game before the break in Brooklyn. New Nets star Mikal Bridges, who had 45 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, was no match for Miami.

Miami was led by Bam Adebayo, who scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Max Strus had 18 points, and Gabe Vincent had 21.

Against the Nets, Miami was without Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, and Nikola Jovic. Oladipo is experiencing problems with his ankle, Herro sustained a concussion to his left knee, and Lowry hopes to return from his knee injury by the end of February. Their whereabouts for the game on Friday are unknown.

Budenholzer told reporters that Milwaukee has a lot of injury news, most notably that Bobby Portis and Jae Crowder are likely to play on Friday. Portis has been out since January 23 with a knee injury, and Crowder hasn’t played this season because he was traded to Milwaukee after waiting in Phoenix.

Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton (knee), Pat Connaughton (calf), and Antetokounmpo were all able to practice in some capacity; however, their status for Friday has not been disclosed; however, it is anticipated that Antetokounmpo will not participate in the game.

This season, Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks with 31.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. With 19.4, Jrue Holiday is second on the team and leads with 7.1 assists and 1.3 steals. With 14.5 points and 2.4 blocks per game, Brook Lopez leads the pack.

Eight players have scored in double figures in Miami’s previous games, with Butler leading the way with 21.7 points and Adebayo with 21.6. In addition, Butler has two steals per game, and Lowry leads the team with 5.3 assists.

As the Bucks attempt to split the series, this will be their fourth and final meeting this season in the Eastern Conference. Miami won both of its games at home, while Milwaukee’s Bucks defeated Miami 123-115 on Feb. 4 in Milwaukee.

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