Coming off of a thrilling season-opening victory over Houston, the Bucks open their home slate with a matchup against the short-handed Miami Heat on Saturday. Miami will be without their star Jimmy Butler along with James Johnson, Udonis Haslem, and Dion Waiters due to a coach’s decision, wrist injury, and suspension respectively. Needless to say the Heat offense will be a little dry without a few impact players. The Heat are coming off a 120-101 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, led by Justise Winslow’s 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Kendrick Nunn added 24 points for Miami and Wisconsin native Tyler Herro put up 14 points in the victory. Milwaukee comes into the game having defeated the Rockets in Houston Thursday night thanks to a triple-double from Giannis Antetokounmpo.

This shouldn’t be too difficult of a matchup for the Bucks as they have a clear talent advantage, especially without Jimmy Butler. The only guy on the Heat that could give the Bucks some problems is Bam Adebayo, who is a dominant physical presence in the paint and a rebound hog. Milwaukee has struggled in the past against rebound-hoarding centers, so they will have to limit Miami’s offensive rebounds to prevent second chance opportunities. On offense, Giannis *should* be able to dominate in this one as Miami doesn’t have a defender gifted enough to stick with him. The Bucks’ shooters should get a lot of open looks as the Heat will likely throw double teams consistently at Giannis.

Expected starters:

MIA: Nunn, Herro, Winslow, Leonard, Adebayo

MIL: Bledsoe, Matthews, Middleton, G. Antetokounmpo, B. Lopez

Injuries: The Bucks are going to be totally healthy for this one while Miami is dealing with a few issues. Udonis Haslem has a wrist injury and won’t be able to go. Jimmy Butler will miss the game due to the birth of his child, and Dion Waiters is serving a suspension.

The spread: MIL -10.0

Time and TV: 4:00 PM CT on FS Wisconsin

Prediction: The only way the Bucks lose this game is if they go ice-cold on offense. I really don’t see that happening though and I expect a Bucks blowout victory in their home opener. Bucks 119, Heat 98

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