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On fire Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Miami Heat

The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo was superb in February but so were the Miami Heat, who will start March on the right foot when they meet in Milwaukee?

On fire Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Miami Heat
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The Miami Heat have surged to the top of the Eastern Conference but will receive a stern test of their credentials on Wednesday when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Miami went 9-1 in February to take a two-game lead atop the East, capping a stunning month by routing the Chicago Bulls 112-99 on Monday.

Bucks have something to prove

Milwaukee sit two games further back but will be out to prove it is they who are the team to beat as the Bucks aim to successfully defend the NBA title, with Giannis Antetokounmpo currently flying high.

The Bucks will not be facing a full-strength Heat team, with Kyle Lowry out for personal reasons and Victor Oladipo absent with a right knee injury.

Being slightly undermanned has not proven an issue for the Heat of late, yet it may be different against the Bucks and their two-time MVP.

Giannis used the month of February to deliver a scarcely needed reminder of why he is arguably the finest basketball player on the planet.

However, having made the NBA Finals two seasons ago, the Heat have shown they can deliver against top-tier opposition.

The Bucks, though, have been a thorn in Miami's side, sweeping them in the first round en route to the title last season, and this encounter may provide an insight into whether the Heat, who have won two out of their meetings with Milwaukee this season, can cause the defending champions serious problems in the postseason.

Heat vs Bucks: Pivotal Peformers

Miami Heat - Bam Adebayo

No player was more crucial to the Heat's scorching run in February than Adebayo. He led Miami with 22 points per game last month and was fifth in the league in average plus-minus with 12.6. Adebayo was tied 10th in steals per game (1.73) and defensive rebounds (8.2) and ended the month ninth in blocked shots per game (1.55), illustrating his substantial value on the defensive end.

Milwaukee Bucks - Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Bucks have depth that gives them an excellent chance of repeating as champions but, when it comes to games against the elite, all eyes must be on Antetokounmpo.

He took his game to another level in February, averaging 51.3 points/assists/rebounds per game. Only Luka Doncic (53.8) fared better last month.

Key battle - Can Heat keep possession?

Miami have thrived this season despite often being lackadaisical in possession.

The Heat's turnover rate of 13.5 per cent is the fourth-highest in the NBA and they are facing a Bucks team whose rate of 12.1 per cent is superior to the league average of 12.5.

In other words, if the Heat want to stay hot against one of their main rivals in the East, they must flip the script and take better care of the ball.

Heat v Bucks head to head

The Bucks are looking to continue a recent run of dominance in home games with the Heat, having won the last three meetings in Milwaukee.


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