Stephen Nover Free Tuesday Play

On January 19, 2016, in Free Picks, NBA, by Stephen

Bucks plus 5 1/2 at Heat

First off, Milwaukee is playing better. The Bucks are 4-2, 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games defeating the Mavericks, Bulls, Hawks and Hornets during this stretch. The Bucks are fresh, too, having been idle the past two days.

The Bucks have one of the most underrated players in the NBA, Khris Middleton. Very few players this month have been better than Middleton, who is averaging 24.1 points and shooting 51.3 percent from the field during his last 11 games.

Milwaukee has matched up well to Miami sweeping all four games last season. The Heat have lost five of their last seven, are in a brutal spot and have multiple injuries, including a cluster injury problem at point guard.

The Heat just finished a six-game road trip on Sunday night in Oklahoma City arriving back in Miami in the early Monday morning hours. The Heat players hardly have any time to get their personal things back in store after being gone for 11 days before heading back on the road immediately following this game for a Wednesday matchup against the Wizards, the first of five more consecutive road games. That could affect their concentration and focus.

Because of this hectic, unusual and unfair bit of scheduling the Heat couldn’t practice on Monday. This is made worse because Miami is going through roster adjustments due to injuries. The Heat have used five different starting lineups in their last five games.

Miami’s depth is seriously depleted down possibly six players. Out are starting point guard Goran Dragic and his veteran backup Beno Udrih leaving Tyler Johnson to likely start. Dwayne Wade, who missed Friday’s game because of soreness in both his shoulders, could share some of the ball-handling. Johnson isn’t 100 percent either with a sore shoulder. Key reserve Gerald Green left the Heat’s loss to the Thunder on Sunday with a knee soreness playing less than 12 minutes.

Miami center Hassan Whiteside is battling knee soreness, too. The Heat already are down two other big men with Chris Andersen and Josh McRoberts out. The Bucks outrebounded Miami by more than 10 per game last season and have pulled down 45 more rebounds than their opponents during the past three games.

The Heat scored only 74 points against the Thunder, who give up an average of 100 points per game. It’s asking a lot for the Heat to cover this margin considering their injuries, tough situation and how well the Bucks are playing and rebounding.


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