Milwaukee can win the season series against Miami with a victory in south Florida on Tuesday night, however the Heat are 4-point favorites on NBA odds with a total of 183.
Bucks Treading Water
Milwaukee (22-22) hasn't fallen below .500 since Dec. 27 but would obviously here with a loss. It has dropped three of its past four games. The Bucks played pretty well Sunday in the second of a back-to-back in San Antonio but fell 101-95. Milwaukee jumped out to a 24-12 lead in the game and were still up eight at the half before fading. The Bucks had just 12 third-quarter points on 4-for-19 shooting. They had a chance to tie in the final 30 seconds but guard Jerryd Bayless was short on a floater in the lane. The Bucks did hold San Antonio to 42 percent shooting, the 17th straight game the Bucks have held an opponent to less than 50 percent. They are up to No. 3 in the NBA in scoring defense at 97.0 points per game.
The Bucks have played without center Larry Sanders since late December and he remains on NBA suspension after reportedly failing a drug test. He might never play for the Bucks again as the team may try to get Sanders to agree to a buyout. Sanders has talent but clearly has a drug problem. He served a five-game suspension in April 2014 for testing positive for marijuana. That positive test was No. 3 of his career. Sanders is in the first year of a four-year, $44 million contract extension he signed in the summer of 2013. Did the Bucks not do their homework on his personal life?
Bucks backup center John Henson twisted his left ankle in the fourth quarter of the Spurs game and did not return, but Coach Jason Kidd said he was able to play if needed. Thus Henson should play here.
Milwaukee is 29-15 against the NBA betting spread and 17-27 'over/under.'
Want to know the most unlikely success story in the NBA this season? I give you Miami center Hassan Whiteside. This guy was playing hoops at a YMCA in Charlotte in October as no NBA teams would give him a look. The 2010 second-round pick of the Kings (out of Marshall) also played professionally in the Middle East after the Kings cut him. In Sunday's 96-84 upset of the Bulls in Chicago, Whiteside went crazy with 14 points, 13 rebounds and a franchise-record 12 blocks in 25 minutes. Whiteside is just the third player in the shot-clock era with a triple-double in 25 or fewer minutes. He was the first player since Shawn Bradley in the 1997-98 season with at least 12 points, 12 board and 12 blocks. The last player with 12 or more blocks in 25 minutes or less was Manute Bol in March 1989 for the Warriors
And Whiteside is the first player -- ever -- to have a triple-double that included at least 10 blocks in 25 minutes or less of game action. He's averaging 7.7 points (on stellar .674 shooting -- he mostly just dunks), 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in 15.9 minutes a night. His blocks average would be second in the league behind Anthony Davis if Whiteside had enough games to qualify.
The Heat (20-24) have won two straight games but haven't scored in triple digits in their past seven. They have allowed only one team to reach 100 points in that stretch. Miami ranks No. 2 in the NBA in scoring defense at 96.2 points per game.
Miami is 20-22-2 against the spread and 15-29 'over/under' on NBA odds.
Milwaukee is 2-0 against Miami. On Nov. 16 in south Florida the Heat were 5-point favorites on NBA odds and lost 91-84. Brandon Knight led the Bucks with 20 points, including a trio of 3-pointers in the final three minutes. Mario Chalmers had 18 to lead the Heat, which played without an injured Dwyane Wade. Miami had won 10 straight vs. the Bucks, including playoffs. On Dec. 5 in Milwaukee, the Bucks were 1.5-point underdogs at sportsbooks and won 109-85. Kendall Marshall, now out for the season with an injury, had 20 points on 7-for-8 shooting off the bench for Milwaukee. The Bucks' bench outscored the Heat's a whopping 60-18. Wade played that one and had 28 points. However, the Heat were without Norris Cole, Luol Deng and Chris Andersen.
The Heat have covered five of their past eight overall. The 'under' is 7-1 in the Bucks' past eight on the road. The 'under' is 5-0 in Miami's past five after a win. The 'under' has hit in four of the past six meeting in Miami, take the Heat as your NBA pick.
NBA Free Picks: Miami -4 & 'Under' 183 points at BookMaker