Heat at Bucks game preview
It’s hard to believe that the Miami Heat met the league-worst Milwaukee Bucks in last year’s playoffs.
It’s also difficult to determine who will be on the court for either team Saturday night.
The Heat will return to Milwaukee for the first time since last season’s first-round sweep, with injuries about the only thing these teams have in common.
Miami’s 2013 postseason began with a lopsided series in which it beat Milwaukee by an average of 14.7 points.
None of the top eight scorers for Milwaukee (14-58) in that series are available now. The Heat (49-22) cruised to a 118-95 home victory Nov. 12 in the first meeting since that mismatch, but it’s possible only two Bucks starters from that game may see action Saturday.
Who the Heat will be able to use is also in doubt after LeBron James had his first triple-double of the season and 37th of his career in a 110-78 rout at Detroit on Friday. James had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
"That thing has been pretty elusive, hasn’t it?" James asked. "I’m just glad it came in a win. That is the important thing about getting those. It is only special if you win the game."
Dwyane Wade sat out with a right hamstring injury that flared up in Wednesday’s 84-83 loss at Indiana. He is day to day.
"It didn’t loosen up and I was still feeling pain in it," Wade said. "It isn’t even that I don’t want to push it. I can’t."
Wade has played in 51 of 71 games this season, sitting out many by design because the two-time defending NBA champions want to rest his sore knees to make sure he’s ready for the playoffs. Wade said his hamstring injury isn’t as serious as one he had in the past.
Heat guard Mario Chalmers is also day to day after he was out against the Pistons because of an injured right quadriceps.
Ray Allen missed his second straight game due to the flu and Greg Oden was inactive. Coach Erik Spoelstra said he wanted to rest Oden’s back.
"At this point, there’s somebody out every night," James lamented.
Milwaukee ended an eight-game skid with Thursday’s 108-105 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, but lost another player. Promising rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo is doubtful after he hurt his left ankle midway through the fourth quarter.
"It really puts us at a kind of a tough predicament because he and the kid we signed on a 10-day (contract), D.J. Stephens, were our two perimeters coming off the bench so hopefully he’ll be OK," coach Larry Drew said.
The short-handed Bucks have already lost Larry Sanders and Ersan Ilyasova for the season, with the other three starters from last year’s playoffs on other teams. In addition, guard O.J. Mayo sat out Thursday with a sprained ankle.
The scoring load shifts to Miami-born Brandon Knight, who scored 30 points against the Lakers after totaling 15 in his previous two efforts. The Bucks turned in their third-highest shooting effort of the season at 55.7 percent.