After falling in a close game without their superstar on Thursday night, the Milwaukee Bucks remain in Miami to take on the Heat for the second consecutive game Saturday afternoon.
Despite trailing by 15 early, the Heat were able to pull away for a 108-102 win over the Bucks on Thursday night as Gabe Vincent led the way with a career-high 28 points. Bam Adebayo had 24 points and 12 rebounds while Jimmy Butler had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo did not play on the second night of a back-to-back after Milwaukee earned a 114-105 victory at Atlanta on Wednesday.
“We’re developing some grit, some mental toughness and stability,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We’re down 15, earlier in the season we would’ve been playing catch up the whole game. Tonight, we were stable, worked the game and settled in.”
Jrue Holiday led the way for Milwaukee with 24 points and 11 assists. Jevon Carter stepped up off the bench with 18 points and Jordan Nwora had a solid showing, scoring 16 points.
“We came out with really good effort at the start, defensively we got stops,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We came out to start the fourth quarter with a turnover, just had a poor start to the quarter. We gotta be better going into the game on Saturday.”
Antetokounmpo is scoring 31.0 points per game, tied for third best in the NBA heading into league play Friday, while also ranking third in the league in rebounds a game with 11.9. Holiday leads the team with 7.2 assists and Brook Lopez is second in the league in blocks with 2.5.
Adebayo has stepped up for the Heat with 21.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. Butler scores a team-leading 21.9 points per game, while Kyle Lowry leads the team with 5.6 assists and 1.1 steals.
A number of players on both teams were mere observers Thursday as the Heat was without Lowry (knee), Duncan Robinson (finger) and Tyler Herro (Achilles). Caleb Martin was also unable to go on Thursday with a quad injury in addition to Nikola Jovic (back) and Omer Yurtseven (ankle).
In addition to Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee also was without Grayson Allen and Joe Ingles while playing a second game in two nights. Those absences were in addition to Khris Middleton who remains out with a knee injury. The Bucks’ Serge Ibaka is out for personal reasons and did not travel with the team for this four-game road trip.
Middleton was assigned to the G-league, signaling his return could be close. Middleton has played just seven games this season for the Bucks.
Saturday will be the second of four games between the teams this season. It’s been a back-and-forth series the last few years as the teams split the four-game set last season after the Bucks swept the Heat in the first round of the playoffs in the 2020-21 season.
–Field Level Media