MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) — The Milwaukee Bucks are celebrating their first All-Star starter in 31 years but are mired in a season-worst four-game losing streak.
Small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is the franchise’s first All-Star Game starter since Sidney Moncrief in 1986 and he looks to help end the skid when the Bucks visit the Miami Heat on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Antetokounmpo emerged as a big-time star in his fourth NBA season to become the first Milwaukee player to make the Eastern Conference squad since Michael Redd in 2004.
He experienced some struggles in Friday’s 112-96 loss to the Orlando Magic as he contributed 17 points and 14 rebounds after averaging 29.3 points over the first three games of the skid.
Miami looks for its first three-game winning streak of the season after defeating the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks to open a four-game homestand.
Standout point guard Goran Dragic totaled 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting for the Heat against Dallas on Thursday and scored more than 20 points four times during January.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), FSN Sun (Miami)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (20-22): Power forward Jabari Parker was supposed to be the face of the franchise when he was the No. 2 overall pick three years ago but he settled in as a talented complement to Antetokounmpo. Parker’s rookie season was cut short after 25 games because of a major knee injury but is thriving now and scored 25 points in Friday’s loss to top 20 for the sixth time in the past eight games. “We just have to find our way out of this slump,” Parker said after Friday’s loss. “We’ll find our way out of it. We need more enthusiasm. After the first quarter, we didn’t have any momentum. We need to move on and win the next game.”
ABOUT THE HEAT (13-30): Dragic, who is in the second season of a five-year, $85 million contract, is the subject of trade rumors but hopes to remain in Miami. Reports claim the Heat turned down an offer from Orlando in which the Magic dangled center Nikola Vucevic and a first-round pick for his services. “I feel really good here,” Dragic told reporters. “I feel like I’m in the right spot. The city is awesome, the fans are great, the organization is the top organization in the league. My family, they’re feeling amazing, they love the city. Of course I want to stay here.”
1. The teams split two meetings earlier this season but the Bucks won seven of the past nine matchups.
2. Milwaukee SG Malcolm Brogdon tallied 16 points against Orlando and scored in double digits 11 times in 12 games since moving into the starting lineup.
3. Miami backup SG Tyler Johnson scored 23 points against Dallas and is averaging 16.7 points over the past seven games.
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