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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, March 26th (All times eastern)

Miami Heat (38-34) at Milwaukee Bucks (39-31), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of teams jockeying for playoff position in the Eastern Conference meet in Brew City Friday when the Milwaukee Bucks play host to the Miami Heat.

The Bucks, who are the fifth seed in the conference, two games ahead of Miami, will be aiming for a season sweep of the Heat tonight. Milwaukee has outscored Miami by an average of nearly 17 points in the first three meetings between the two clubs and will be aiming for their first series sweep since the 1990-91 season.

The Bucks, however, are coming off their worst performance since acquiring John Salmons from Chicago back on Feb. 18. The woeful Philadelphia 76ers stepped into Bradley Center on Wednesday and dumped Milwaukee, 101-86.

Rookie Jrue Holiday had 15 points and seven assists as one of the coldest teams in the league upended one of the hottest in that one. The Sixers had lost 13 of 15 coming into the game and were facing a Bucks team that won 15 of 17 since acquiring Salmons. Milwaukee also had won eight straight at home but watched the visitors shoot 52.6 percent from the floor in the surprising result.

Jerry Stackhouse posted a team-high 15 points for Milwaukee while Salmons hit just 2-of-12 from the field for four points in defeat. Rookie Brandon Jennings scored 12 points and opened the game with a three, though the Sixers answered with 11 straight, eight coming from Jason Kapono.

"They were hitting shots tonight," Jennings said. "They shot over 50 percent from the field tonight, what can you say? When a team is on fire like that, you just have to try to get stops. They executed well tonight and they got it done."

The Heat, meanwhile, gained some ground on the Bucks by earning their third straight win on Thursday in Chicago when Jermaine O'Neal ended with 24 points, as Miami crushed the Bulls, 103-74.

Dwyane Wade had 12 points and 10 assists for the Heat, who led 63-33 at halftime before cruising the rest of the way. Michael Beasley added 15 points for Miami, which had six players reach double-figure scoring.

"We understand what makes us win," O'Neal said. "Not letting our offensive struggles dictate how we play defense. Over the last month or so, we've been playing great defense and it's been giving us easy offensive possessions."

03/26 10:44:22 ET


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