The Heat look to bounce back from a pair of losses while trying for a season-high sixth straight home victory Saturday night against the Bucks.
Miami (38-34) lost 106-87 at Chicago on Thursday, one night after falling 90-88 at Indiana. Despite suffering consecutive losses after winning two in a row, the Heat moved into the fifth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after Philadelphia lost to Charlotte on Friday.
The Heat’s overall success can be traced to their play at home. After going 9-32 there last season, Miami is 25-11 on its home floor, where it has won eight of its last nine contests. The Heat are averaging 121.2 points during their current home winning stretch.
Looking to win six in a row at home for the first time since a 14-game winning streak from Jan. 22-March 16, 2007, Miami has struggled of late against Milwaukee at American Airlines Arena.
The Bucks have won two of their last three trips to Miami, including a 98-83 win on Dec. 15.
Milwaukee (31-42) benefited from a combined 41 points from Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd in that contest, but a season-ending knee injury to Redd and Bogut’s back problems will keep both off the court in this game.
While the Bucks remain competitive without their two stars, they appear to be running out of gas. Milwaukee lost 110-94 at Orlando on Friday for its fourth straight loss and 13th in 17 games.
The Bucks are 10th in the East, four games behind Detroit and Chicago for the final playoff spot with nine games remaining.
“We’re trying to remain competitive right now,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “It’s fairly obvious we’re having a hard time doing that.”
Miami won 102-99 at Milwaukee on Jan. 14 in the teams’ most recent game, but will need to play better than it did against Chicago in order to get back on track.
Dwyane Wade scored 31 points on 12-of-21 shooting against the Bulls after going 5-for-24 with 21 points versus the Pacers.
Averaging a league-high 29.8 points, Wade was one of the few bright spots Thursday for the Heat, who were outscored 32-14 in a decisive third quarter.
“It happened so quickly,” Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said of the period. “We cracked.”
Wade has struggled against the Bucks this season, scoring a combined 32 points on 27.8 (10-for-36) percent shooting in two contests.
Charlie Villanueva had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks in their last visit to Miami. The fourth-year forward was held to 11 at Orlando.
Milwaukee’s Richard Jefferson is averaging 18.7 points, but was held to 13 on Friday and has totaled 29 in two games against Miami this season.