After sorely missing Dwyane Wade's presence while their lengthy win streak ended, the Miami Heat are hoping he can help them bounce back when they face a pesky opponent.
In Wade's return from suspension Saturday night, the Heat will hit the road and try to get past a Milwaukee Bucks team that took them into overtime earlier this season.
Wade was forced to sit out one game for making contact with Ramon Sessions' groin in a victory at Charlotte on Wednesday. Without him, the Heat's six-game winning streak was snapped with a 109-99 defeat at Detroit on Friday.
Miami (20-7) made its displeasure with the suspension known before the loss to the Pistons, but Wade was ready to get past the incident after saying in a tweet Thursday that he was not a dirty player.
"With the whole video, it could be taken any kind of way," he said during the team's shootaround Friday. "Like I said, I've made my statement and I'm looking forward to moving on and getting ready for (Saturday) night."
The Heat guard played a key part in a 113-106 overtime win over Milwaukee in Miami on Nov. 21, matching LeBron James with a team-high 28 points. Chris Bosh also had 24 and 18 rebounds, his most boards in a game over his three seasons with the Heat.
Wade, a former star at Marquette, had 22 points in his most recent visit to the Bradley Center, a 114-96 victory Feb. 13, and James had 35 on 16-of-21 shooting while helping his team end a three-game losing streak to the Bucks.
James is averaging 34.3 points on 62.1 percent shooting in his last three games against Milwaukee and finished two assists shy of a triple-double in the November matchup.
James also had 35 points in Friday's game - he has at least 20 in all 27 contests this season - but Bosh was the only other Miami player in double figures with 28.
"(Wade's absence is) no excuse. We still had enough," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Obviously, we're a different team with Dwyane, but we have enough depth that we should be able to overcome missing one guy for a night."
The Bucks (15-12) have alternated wins and losses over their last seven contests, a trend they'll be looking to stop after beating Brooklyn 108-93 on Wednesday.
Brandon Jennings had a team-best 25 points after being held to seven in a loss to Cleveland last Saturday, while Monta Ellis added 20. The duo combined to hit 6 of 7 from 3-point range.
"We just have to try to have some carryover and look forward to doing better things when we play Miami," swingman Marquis Daniels said. "We played them close down there. We just have to learn to finish out games better."
Ellis is averaging 28.0 points over his last three games while making half of his 62 shots. The Milwaukee guard, though, was held to nine points on 4-of-16 shooting in the loss at Miami.