Milwaukee Bucks: Why the NBA Should Take Notice If Bucks Upset Miami Heat
But the NBA is about as predictable as the weather.
Therefore, the Bucks game at Miami on Wednesday night won't receive as much buzz as it may have had Milwaukee accomplished what it was expected to and defeat the Charlotte Bobcats Monday night.
It's still a clash of two division-leading teams, and the Bucks remain one of the biggest early surprises in the NBA, but it will still be billed as a "David vs. Goliath"-type matchup.
The Bucks wouldn't have it any other way.
Certainly, we have seen inconsistencies with this group already. Over the past two games, Milwaukee has allowed the Bobcats and New Orleans Hornets, two teams near the bottom of the barrel talent-wise—albeit up-starts—to bridge the century mark in points.
There have also been plenty of positives to outweigh the negatives. The Bucks are fifth in the NBA in scoring and lead the entire league in assists-per-game while also maintaining an above average rebounding rate thanks to the emergence of Larry Sanders and the addition of Samuel Dalembert.
Monta Ellis is the team's leading scorer, to no one's surprise, and Brandon Jennings has deferred to Ellis more often, dishing out 7.7 assists a night and leading the league in steals with 3.1-per-game.
What the Bucks' backcourt lacks in stature and defense, it makes up with speed and quick hands. It also doesn't hurt to have a slew of big men like Dalembert, Sanders and Ekpe Udoh protecting the rim behind you.
What seed will the Bucks obtain if they reach the playoffs?
Milwaukee has a different guy who can step up every night in every category. Ellis is a slasher and scorer, Jennings can distribute and get to the basket, Mike Dunleavy is a sniper from long-range, and Sanders can clean up around the basket.
One of Milwaukee's favorite things to do is get out on the fast break, a category in which the Bucks lead the NBA in scoring. When they are forced to set up in the half court, Ellis and Jennings can create off the dribble and superior passing from Milwaukee's frontcourt also helps to facilitate the offense.
Milwaukee's three losses have come at the expense of winning teams—the Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, and yes, even the Bobcats. It has also defeated those same Celtics while also knocking off projected playoff attendees like the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers.
All the while, the Bucks have taken care of business against teams they are expected to beat, amassing a 4-0 record against those with a losing record.
There's no question the schedule is about to get a helluva lot tougher in the immediate future.
Aside from their game against the Heat, the Bucks have a home-and-away with the Chicago Bulls and games versus the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves—all within a span of 10 days.
Still, what better way to kickstart that intimidating stretch of games with a win in South Beach?
It's not going to be easy.
Dwayne Wade is scheduled to return from a foot injury, although he isn't expected to show as much aggression as in the past, considering his offseason knee surgery as well as his ailing foot.
Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE
The Heat are the unanimous favorite to win the Eastern Conference, and they should be refreshed after a three-day layoff following a six-game road trip in which they went 4-2.
Prior to Tuesday, Miami had faced teams with a combined .596 winning percentage compared to Milwaukee's .443 strength of schedule. That makes Miami's 8-3 record all the more impressive considering the west coast swing it just completed.
While the Heat lead the NBA in scoring, they rank near the bottom of the league in defensive efficiency.
Despite its recent defensive struggles, Milwaukee manages to crack the top 10, and is also No. 12 in offense efficiency to go along with its top-five scoring offense.
Milwaukee's 3-1 road record features wins at Philadelphia and Boston, two games in which it was an underdog. Miami has yet to drop a game at American Airlines Arena, but holds only a 3-3 record against teams above .500. The Bucks are 2-3 against winning teams.
All of these statistics are derived from a small sample size, and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt. However, one thing almost everyone can agree on is that Miami is a flat-out better team than Milwaukee, so the league should take notice if the Bucks pull off the upset.
The Bucks watched their double-digit fourth-quarter lead evaporate against the Bobcats, perhaps because they were looking ahead to their trip to Miami.
We'll see if it was worth it Wednesday night.
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