MILWAUKEE (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Heat look like a completely different team than the one that began the season winning 11 of its first 41 games.
Goran Dragic has played a leading role in the Heat’s remarkable turnaround and the veteran guard looks to continue his hot shooting against the host Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Dragic poured in 33 points while draining a career-high seven from behind the arc as Miami earned its 11th consecutive victory – a 115-113 triumph at Minnesota on Monday.
Dragic told reporters Monday that “the rim looks huge” right now and he is averaging 24.2 points over the last six contests while helping the Heat register 111 per game over the past nine.
“I’m more consistent,” Dragic told the Sun Sentinel. “I had a great summer. This is the best shape I’ve been in my life and just hard work pays off.”
Milwaukee has been going the opposite direction, but received 30 points from All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo in a 137-112 victory at Phoenix on Saturday to end a five-game slide, and last season’s leading scorer Khris Middleton is expected to make his season debut Wednesday.
“It was a big game for us to end the road trip on a positive,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd told reporters. “Now we’ve got to go home and build on it.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Miami), FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee)
ABOUT THE HEAT (22-30): Dragic is shooting better than 60 percent from the field over the last six games and center Hassan Whiteside boasts three consecutive double-doubles while leading the league in rebounds (13.9).
Guard Dion Waiters (15.5 points), who is third on the team in scoring behind Dragic (20.1) and Whiteside (16.9), suffered an ankle injury that limited him to 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting Monday.
If Waiters can’t go, Miami will need another big night from guard Rodney McGruder after the former Kansas State standout scored 15 on 6-of-8 from the field Monday.
ABOUT THE BUCKS (22-28): Middleton, who averaged 18.2 points in 2015-16, missed the first 50 games due to hamstring surgery and will provide more offense for a team with only three players averaging in double figures.
“It’s going to take some time for him to get back into rhythm,” Milwaukee guard Matthew Dellavedova told the Milwaukee Journal. “It’s always different. He’s not going to fix the issues that we have, but it’s definitely going to help.”
Antetokounmpo averages 23.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists while Jabari Parker scores 20.2 per game.
- The Bucks, who have dropped two of three to Miami this season, gave up at least 100 points in the last 17 contests.
- The Heat’s winning streak is the longest in NBA history from a team that started it at least 19 games under .500.
- Milwaukee C Roy Hibbert and PF Spencer Hawes sat out the first two games since being acquired from Charlotte, but could make their debut Wednesday.
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