Miami Heat vs Milwaukee Bucks: Match Preview and Predictions - 26th October 2019
Date and time: Saturday, October 26th, 2019 at 5:00 PM ET
Venue: Fiserv Arena, Milwaukee, WI
Last game result
Miami Heat: 120-101 win against the Memphis Grizzlies (23rd October, 2019)
Milwaukee Bucks: 117-111 win against the Houston Rockets (24th October 2019)
This is a matchup between two teams that were headed in opposite directions last season. The Bucks were a 60-win team and the class of the East during the regular season. The Heat failed to make the playoffs while the Bucks lost in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals to the eventual NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors. Last season was a revelation and rise of the talent that is Giannis Antetokoumnpo as he became the 2019 MVP and looks to repeat that feat in 2020.
The Milwaukee Bucks are essentially the same squad from last season’s 60 win domination of the Eastern Conference with the only significant change to the roster being the departure via free agency of Malcolm Brogdon (now with Indiana).
As for the Miami Heat, this summer, they made a significant move to shake up their roster. They added Jimmy Butler via a sign and trade with Philadelphia deleting Josh Richardson from their line up in the process. As the Heat try to find a way back to the East’s playoff bracket, without the recently retired Dwyane Wade, the Heat went 4-1 in the preseason and beat their opening night opponent Memphis by 19 to start the 2019/20 season.
Miami Heat - Justise Winslow
The Miami Heat were at the heart of most trade rumors this offseason and Justise Winslow was a common name in most projected trade packages. However, the Heat have decided to stick with him thus far and he repaid that faith in Miami's season opener by racking up 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Not only can Winslow guard four positions, but he is also a good facilitator in offense. After Dragic's injury last season, Winslow performed well in the primary ball handler's role, especially down the stretch. Against the strong Bucks, you expect the game to go down to the wire which makes Winslow's skill-set all the more valuable.
Milwaukee Bucks - Giannis Antetokounmpo
Affectionately known as the “Greek Freak”, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the star of the Milwaukee Bucks. Last season’s MVP is motivated to put the claims that his game is not complete based on how he got exposed by the Raptors in the East Finals behind him. He had already begun to develop a 3-point shot last season and needs to add a pull-up and mid-range shooting to his offense.
If Giannis improves in these aspects, the sky is the limit for Milwaukee. In fact, in their season opener in Houston, the Greek Freak scored 30 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and added 11 assists for a triple-double. The only issue for Milwaukee is the looming free agency and supermax status of their star player and whether they can retain his services long term.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Miami Heat - Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, Justise Winslow, Bam Adebayo, Meyers Leonard
Milwaukee Bucks - Eric Bledsoe, Wesley Matthews, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez
Heat vs Bucks Match prediction
The Bucks will be the home team and based on last season’s record they were 33-8 while playing in Milwaukee. Aside from the home-court advantage, the Bucks on paper are the more complete team with talents like Bledsoe, Middleton, and Lopez providing their star player support.
In fact, in the opener victory over Houston, those three players had 11 points each. Wesley Matthews, who replaces the departed Malcolm Brogdon, scored 14 in that game. Watch out for Milwaukee to launch away from behind the 3-point arc as they did against Houston when both teams combined for 94 threes taken - 46 of them by Milwaukee.
The Miami Heat are a team in rebuild mode. They have 4 rookies on the roster in Tyler Herro, KZ Okpala, Kendrick Nunn, and Chris Silva. Things will be even tougher because Jimmy Butler will be unable to play on Saturday following the birth of his daughter.
Milwaukee was also a strong defensive team in 2018/19 ranking 11th in opponents’ ppg allowed. While Miami racked up 120 against Memphis in their home opener, don’t expect that production against Milwaukee on the road where Miami was just 20-21 in the win/loss column last season.
The odds favor the Bucks walking away with a win in this Eastern Conference matchup especially if Jimmy Butler does not suit up for the Miami Heat.
Where to watch Heat vs Bucks?
This contest can be live-streamed online with a membership to the NBA League Pass. The game will be broadcast nationwide on NBA TV. The game will be telecasted by FOX Sports Sun and FOX Sports Wisconsin locally.Published 26 Oct 2019, 16:00 IST