The Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat meet for the first time this season. There’s a history between the two, having faced off in the recent playoffs. Will the Bucks go 2-0? Or, will the Heat get a win right from the get-go?
Catch this game live on Friday, October 22, at 8 AM, Manila time
Away: Milwaukee Bucks (1-0, 0-0 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Jrue Holiday (listed as probable)
- SG: Grayson Allen
- SF: Khris Middleton
- PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
- C: Brook Lopez
The Bucks got out of the gate this season like a house on fire, as Giannis Antetokounmpo and company buried the Brooklyn Nets in a convincing 127-104 win at home on Wednesday. If Milwaukee wanted to make a statement right away, they definitely succeeded in that goal with a win over a fellow legitimate NBA title contender. The Bucks got 32 points and 14 rebounds from Antetokounmpo and 20 more points from Khris Middleton. Those two represent the biggest threats to Miami this coming Friday.
After all, it was the pair of Antetokounmpo and Middleton who led the Bucks’ four-game sweep of Miami in last season’s playoffs. In that series, Antetokounmpo put up 23.5 points per game, while Middleton averaged 21.5 points. Outdueling a loaded Nets team, even with Brooklyn missing Kyrie Irving, speaks volumes about how Milwaukee can beat teams with offense alone. But that’s not to say the Bucks can’t defend. They just held the Nets down to only 44 FG%. The Bucks are also 5-0 against the spread in their last five games after letting their opponent score over 100 points in the previous contest.
Home: Miami Heat (0-0, 0-0 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Kyle Lowry
- SG: Duncan Robinson
- SF: Jimmy Butler
- PF: PJ Tucker
- C: Bam Adebayo
After an early exit in the 2021 NBA Playoffs, the Heat got out of their way and added key names to the roster over the offseason. Miami acquired veteran point guard Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors and signed former Bucks forward PJ Tucker to a deal. Both guys are expected to significantly contribute to the Heat. Lowry adds fluidity to the team’s offense, while Tucker will help stretch the floor on offense and provide muscle on the other end of the floor.
Tucker’s familiarity with the Bucks is an X-factor for the Heat, whose defense will also be counted upon by Erik Spoelstra. Last season, the Heat allowed just 108.6 points per game and limited opponents to only 45.9 FG%. Lowry had a career-worst 115 defensive rating last season, but he should be closer to normal this time around in a more stable team. The key for them against Milwaukee is to win the defensive rebounding battle and avoid turnovers to keep the Bucks from getting extra possessions. The Heat are 5-4-1 against the spread in their last 10 games as the home team.
The Bucks are all warmed up with a win under their belts already heading into this matchup, but if the Heat did get any better after the changes they’ve made in the offseason, that should manifest in this marquee matchup. Take the Heat to cover at a home underdog (+2.5)
The Heat’s identity still lies on their defense. This won’t be the high-scoring game the Bucks were in on Day 1 of the season against the Nets. Take the Under (223.5)