In both teams’ return to action after the All-Star break, the Milwaukee Bucks will welcome in the visiting Miami Heat on Friday night.
Prior to the break, the Bucks took down the Bulls in Chicago last Thursday 112-100 despite Giannis Antetokounmpo going down with a right wrist injury and playing just nine minutes.
Brook Lopez took charge, scoring 33 points, while Jevon Carter poured in 22, Jrue Holiday added 15 and AJ Green came off the bench and went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc for 15 points.
“(Carter) had a lot of fun in his home city, Good for him to continue a great first half,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We need more of that from him. He’s really grown and developed.”
Antetokounmpo played just enough in the All-Star Game to dunk on the first play and then exit. He has since gotten his wrist evaluated in New York and it was determined he suffered a sprained ligament, but avoided serious injury beyond that. He will undergo treatment and should be able to return “once the pain subsides,” according to ESPN.
Miami was in Brooklyn for its final game before the break, falling to the Nets 116-105 on Feb. 15. Miami was no match for new Nets star Mikal Bridges, who scored 45 points along with eight rebounds and five assists.
Bam Adebayo led the way for Miami with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Gabe Vincent added 21 points and Max Strus scored 18.
Miami was without Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo and Nikola Jovic against the Nets. Lowry hopes to return from his knee injury by the end of February, Oladipo is dealing with an ankle issue and Herro suffered a left knee contusion. Their statuses for Friday’s game are unknown.
“We’ve got 23 (games) to go to get to where we need to get to,” Jimmy Butler said after the game. “It’s all about being healthy, which is what this break is going to do for us, come out swinging for the fences in the right way.”
Milwaukee has plenty of injury news, most notably that Bobby Portis and Jae Crowder are expected to play Friday, Budenholzer told reporters. Portis has been out since Jan. 23 with a knee injury and Crowder has yet to debut this season after holding out in Phoenix and then being traded to Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton (knee) and Pat Connaughton (calf) were all able to practice in some capacity, but their status for Friday has not been announced, although it is expected Antetokounmpo will not play.
Antetokounmpo leads the Bucks this season with 31.8 points per game along with 12.2 rebounds. Jrue Holiday is second in points with 19.4 while leading the team with 7.1 assists and 1.3 steals. Brook Lopez (14.5 points) leads with 2.4 blocks per game.
Miami has a balanced scoring attack with eight players averaging double figures in the games they’ve played, led by Butler’s 21.7 and Adebayo’s 21.6 points per game. Butler also gets two steals a game while Lowry leads with 5.3 assists.
This will be the fourth and final matchup between these Eastern Conference rivals this season as the Bucks look to split the season series. Miami won both of its home matchups while the Bucks won the last matchup back on Feb. 4, 123-115 in Milwaukee.
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