The Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks are both heading into the game through prior interesting wins. It should be interesting to see how each will try to build off from their performances, especially since they are crossing paths for the first time this season.

Catch the game Friday, 8:30 AM, Manila time.

HOME: Miami Heat (21-21, 12-9 at home)

Projected starting five:

  • Gabe Vincent
  • Max Strus
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Haywood Highsmith
  • Orlando Robinson

The Heat are on the heels of a last-second, 112-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are now 6-3 in their last nine games, averaging 111.8 points per game in that span.

The said victory also saw Miami set an NBA record of most free throw makes without a miss, with 40. Such perfection was just what they needed as they came in missing several players, most notably starters Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Kyle Lowry.

Fortunately, the Heat’s main star, Jimmy Butler (22.1 PPG), was healthy and stepped up as always, boasting an all-around 35 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and three blocks, including a spotless 23-for-23 from the line.

The status of Adebayo (21.4 PPG) , Herro (21.2 PPG), and Lowry (13.1 PPG) are still in question for tomorrow’s contest, which is huge as they are taking a solid chunk of production with them. If they are out, Gabe Vincent, Victor Oladipo, and Max Strus will remain as the primary scoring support for Butler.

The Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record.


AWAY: Milwaukee Bucks (27-14, 11-9 on the road)

Projected starting five:

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Pat Connaughton
  • Grayson Allen
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Brook Lopez

The Bucks are now winners of two-straight games following their 114-105 victory against the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday. It’s also their fifth win in seven contests – a good sign that their slump in late December, which had them drop four consecutive games, is behind them.

Naturally, tomorrow will be an uphill battle as they are on the road while on the second day of a back-to-back. However, this fiery Bucks team are also 5-0 ATS while on 0-day rest.

Then again, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s offense is a bit hard to gauge this past week. He has suddenly posted two single-digit games in his last three outings, including vs. the Hawks, where he only went 3-for-10 for seven points across 35 minutes – granted he had 18 boards and 10 assists. It feels like there is no in-between – he can either struggle with his shot yet again or play like his monstrous self since they are up against a conference rival.

Nevertheless, Jrue Holiday (18.1 PPG, 7.1 APG), Brook Lopez (14.5 PPG, 2.6 BPG),  Bobby Portis (14.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG) and the rest of the Bucks can be expected to rally behind their MVP whether he comes out hot or not.

Milwaukee is putting up 111.2 PPG in its last 7 games.


Handicap: The Heat will put up a solid fight but will ultimately fail to contain the Giannis Express. I like the Bucks at +2.5.

Over/Under: The Bucks are on the second game of a back-to-back and the Heat may try to slow the game down. The under 223.5 looks good.