In tonight’s Eastern Conference match-up, we will see Bucks hosting Heat at BMO Harris Bradley Center for their second encounter this season.
Milwaukee Bucks are currently at 10th position in the league with a record of 22-28. Their overall record is not that bad, but their recent form is. Milwaukee Bucks won only 2 games out of last 10 played. However, they have won their previous match against Phoenix Suns and with that ended their 5 game losing streak . Does this mean that we will see a jump in their performance? Probably not, but it surely helps to win a match, at least from moral perspective. Their recent match, that they won was against Phoenix Suns (112:137). A win with 25 points to spare can mean 2 things; either Phoenix Suns severely underperformed or Bucks played extremely good. Looking at that match, it was the Bucks that played very good. 1st quarter ended with a 20 point lead by Bucks (25:45) which is enormous lead to have at this point of the game. Suns did try to catch up in 2nd quarter and they did so.. partially, as they reduced the lead to 8 points (42:29). First half of the match ended with (66:74), with Bucks still ahead of their opposition. 2nd half sadly did not offer as much points as we have seen in the first 24 minutes, neither did we see Suns catching up to Bucks. The next 2 quarters were basically Bucks extending their lead and securing the win (23:27), (23:36). In this match, we could see Bucks shooting with 63.4% accuracy, they also had 16 turnovers and 9 steals to their name. Suns on the other hand had a much lower FG% (41.8%), but they did accumulate the same amount of steals and turnovers. Top scorers of the match: Booker (31pts), Antetokounmpo (30pts), Chriss (27pts).
Today’s visiting team is Miami Heat, who are currently on a 10-0 run in the past 10 games, which makes them the “hottest team” in the NBA at the moment. Most of those 10 games (actually 7 of them) were played at American Airlines Arena, which surely contributed to their superb record. Why am I pointing this out? Well prior to the run they are having now, Miami has lost 4 consecutive games on the road. Looking even further, Miami never performed exceptionally well in away games. The last match Miami played took place at Target Ceter, Minneapolis, the home of Minnesota Timberwolves. Miami accumulated a 14 point lead before heading into the locker rooms (57:71), mostly due to their good FG% in first 2 halves (69,6%), (52.2%). in the 3rd quarter I saw a disappointing performance from Miami, who were outscored by 9 points and had only 40%FG accuracy, whereas they let Minnesota shot with 63.2% accuracy. Last quarter almost resulted in a disaster for Miami, as Timberwolves came close to closing the gap. Luckily for Miami, Minnesota were 2 points short of a tie in the end. The match ended with 113:115. All in all, Minnesota shot with 53.8% accuracy, had 10 turnovers and 13 steals. Miami on the other hand shot 52.3%, with 17 turnovers and 5 steals. Top scorers of the match: Towns (35pts), Dragic (33pts) and Wiggins (27pts).
Verdict & Prediction
On the paper Miami come off as a better opponent, but there are some factors we must take into consideration. Miami is coming into this match straight from their recent one and we could expect players feeling fatigued, whereas Bucks have been resting for the past 4 days. The second reason why I don’t believe Miami will do as good of a job as it seems at first glance is that Bucks are a strong team at home, where they are capable to stand against some of the best teams in the NBA. And lastly, Miami has a long list of injured players, which only adds a value on Bucks.
Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks -3.5 points
Odds: 1.85 Pinnacle