Short-handed Heat face stingy Bucks defense next

Tue Feb 13 12:44am ET
Field Level Media

The All-Star break can't arrive soon enough for the Miami Heat, who will be missing several key players when they begin a six-game road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

Jimmy Butler (personal), Josh Richardson (dislocated right shoulder) and Terry Rozier (sprained right knee) will be unavailable for Miami, which has started 28 different lineups in 53 games this season.

The Heat could also be without Duncan Robinson, who is listed as questionable after suffering a left shoulder/elbow sprain in a loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday.

Miami faces a tough matchup against Milwaukee, which has held opponents under 100 points in back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 22-24, 2021.

The Bucks led by as many as 28 in a 112-95 win over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Monday.

Miami has lost nine of its past 13 games, but coach Erik Spoelstra was impressed by his team's resilience against Boston on Sunday. Tyler Herro scored 24 points for the Heat, who rallied from a 15-point deficit before losing 110-106.

"I thought our group showed a tremendous amount of grit in that second half," Spoelstra said. "There were a lot of things that weren't necessarily going our way, including the injuries. To really fight and claw back and get this game on the ropes, it's a credit to how hard guys were playing."

Miami had to adjust without Butler, who is averaging 21.4 points while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range.

Butler was granted a leave of absence on Sunday after a death in his family, and his status for this week is unclear.

Miami's depleted lineup places a larger burden on Herro, who has connected on multiple 3-pointers in 14 straight games.

"Right now, we're just locked in on these next two, Milwaukee and (Philadelphia on Wednesday) before the All-Star break," Herro said. "Those are two really important games for us, and we want to go into that with pretty much a playoff mindset and get those two games."

The Heat have lost their last four meetings against Milwaukee, including a 131-124 loss in Miami on Nov. 28.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had 36 points and matched his season high with 18 rebounds in Monday's win over Denver. Milwaukee has gone 3-5 since Doc Rivers took over as the team's head coach.

"We've been so focused on trying to get better, trying to all get on the same page," Bucks guard Pat Connaughton said. "(Rivers) has done a great job of putting in structure, putting in and simplifying some of the things that we've already done, some things we already do well, as well as adding some things that I think will help us in the long run."

Damian Lillard is averaging 21.5 points on 48.4 percent shooting over his last four games for Milwaukee, which has won its last two games by a combined 53 points.

Rivers has emphasized defense since his arrival, and he has been pleased by the early results.

"The more we can get our guys to know exactly what we're doing, they can play at full speed," Rivers said. "That's what we're trying to do. Simplify things, so they can play with fire."


MIA LogoMiami Heat
MIL LogoMilwaukee Bucks

Tue Feb 13 8:00pm ET



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