NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 2nd (All times Eastern)
Milwaukee Bucks (14-60) at Miami Heat (51-22), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Miami Heat sit atop the Eastern Conference standings, albeit fractionally, and will try to keep pace Wednesday night when they welcome the Milwaukee Bucks to South Beach.
The Heat are narrowly ahead of the Indiana Pacers for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Miami has all of the momentum now as the Heat have won three straight and continue a five-game homestand Wednesday night.
With LeBron James' 32 points leading the way, the Heat continued their recent dominance of the Toronto Raptors with a 93-83 win Monday.
James added eight assists and seven rebounds in the victory -- Miami's 15th straight over Toronto -- with ex-Raptor Chris Bosh contributing 18 points and Chris Andersen lending 13 for a Heat team again playing without stars Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen.
Wade (strained left hamstring) and center Greg Oden (sore back) both missed a third straight game, while Allen (stomach virus) sat out for a fourth consecutive contest.
Aside from a quality win against a division leader, the Heat of course are in the driver's seat over a struggling Pacers squad. Despite beating Miami last week, Indiana has dropped three straight and six of its last eight.
"Guys will look at the standings. I look at the standings. We're aware of it. It's not that we're naive to it. I didn't talk about it," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat have already wrapped up another Southeast Division title. Miami has six of its last nine at AmericanAirlines Arena.
At the other side of the spectrum are the Bucks, who lost to the Heat in Milwaukee on Saturday. That followed a rare win for the Bucks, who have actually dropped two in a row since the big victory over the Lakers.
On Monday, three Detroit Pistons had double-doubles en route to a 116-111 victory over the Bucks at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Brandon Knight had 25 points, nine rebounds and seven assists and Ramon Sessions scored 20 points to go with 11 assists for the Bucks, losers in 10 of their last 11 games.
"We just stopped doing the things that we did for three-and-a-half quarters," Milwaukee coach Larry Drew said. "We took some tough shots. We rushed a lot of quick shots around the basket and missed a lot of easy ones."
The Bucks were nine points clear at the half and ahead by one heading into the final quarter.
Jeff Adrien scored 16 points, while Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo both finished with 14. Zaza Pachulia registered a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
The Bucks are two games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers in the race for the worst record in the NBA. With only eight games left, Milwaukee will be hard to catch in the battle for the most ping-pong balls at the NBA Draft Lottery.
The Heat have won four straight against the Bucks and three in a row in South Beach in this series.
04/02 10:23:51 ET