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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The Miami Heat are looking to break out of a little funk that has cost the team its previous two games.
Chris Bosh and Miami are grinding through a rocky patch early in the season, and the Milwaukee Bucks’ stout defense should do little to help the Heat gain some momentum.
The two teams meet Sunday in Miami for their first of four meetings this season.
Miami (5-4) is looking to end a two-game skid and pick up its third win in seven games, but it will face a challenge against a Milwaukee team that is allowing 93.6 points per game – third-lowest in the NBA.
The Heat scored a season low in an 81-75 loss to Indiana on Wednesday before regaining some touch on offense but struggling on the other end in Friday’s 114-103 loss at Atlanta.
“They shot 56 percent for the game,” Bosh said. “… I don’t know who we’re kidding if we’re going to play defense like that and then expect to stop them.”
Atlanta’s shooting percentage marked the highest allowed by Miami this season.
Bosh scored 20 points and added eight rebounds but finished the night minus-22 – his worst plus-minus since Dec. 29, 2012.
Miami has overcome its defensive inadequacies several times, scoring more than 100 points in six of nine games. However, in contests where they shoot under 48 percent from the field, the Heat are 0-4.
“Whether its the coverages or just man-to-man defense, they’re blowing by us,” Bosh continued. “We’re not helping each other. We have no weak-side defense. It just wasn’t there for the past few games.”
Mario Chalmers had a season-high 23 points and 11 assists Friday, but much like the rest of Miami’s roster, he took issue with his team’s play.
“We got to work on our rebounding,” he said. “That’s the main thing, coming away with those rebounds, coming away with those loose balls. That’s another step we need to take.”
The Heat average 36.7 rebounds – one of the lowest marks in the league.
Not only has Milwaukee (4-5) been limiting point totals, it’s also holding opponents to a 41.9 shooting percentage.
The Bucks’ performances on defense have been necessary given their critical offensive inadequacies. Milwaukee averages just 91.9 points, which sits near the bottom of the NBA, and has not topped 100 points since its first game of the season.
“Focus on our defense, being able to finish plays defensively, and then offense will catch up,” coach Jason Kidd said before Friday’s 101-85 loss to Orlando. “Guys have bought into that, understanding that defense wins games.”
Brandon Knight continues to emerge offensively since joining Milwaukee last season, scoring 24 points Friday for his 19th straight game in double figures.
Giannis Antetokounmpo added a season-high 19 points to pick up the slack left by O.J. Mayo, who has finished with nine or fewer points in six of his last seven games.
Milwaukee has lost its last five against Miami, although those meetings involved drastically different personnel. The Heat were led by LeBron James, while Milwaukee lacked rookie Jabari Parker, who is averaging 10.3 points through the first nine games.
Dwyane Wade remains a constant for the Heat. He is 18-10 against Milwaukee in his career, but may be sidelined Sunday with a sore hamstring. The injury forced him to miss his first game of this season Friday.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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