Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat (-14, 196)
The defending champion Miami Heat are having a tough time closing out victories, a trend they'll try to end when they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. Miami has lost three of its first seven games - by a combined six points - and are coming off a 111-110 loss to Boston. The Heat won three of four meetings last season and have claimed four of the last five.
The Bucks have stumbled out of the gate too often, trailing by 16 and 25 at halftime of their last two road games and falling behind by 18 early in the third quarter of Saturday's 91-83 home loss to Dallas. "I'm tired of playing comeback basketball," Milwaukee coach Larry Drew told reporters. "I really am. It just takes too much out of you." The Heat have gotten typically strong production from LeBron James (24.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 8 assists) despite a nagging back problem but have struggled at the defensive end.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), Sun Sports (Miami)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (2-3): Milwaukee isn't burning it up at the offensive end, but the Bucks are hitting from long range, ranking second in the league at 43.6 percent from 3-point range. Newcomer O.J. Mayo (18.6 points) leads four players averaging double-digit scoring, but the Bucks are short-handed in the post with forward Ersan Ilyasova sidelined with a sore ankle and defensive whiz Larry Sanders out following surgery on his right thumb. Even without Sanders' shot-blocking prowess, the Bucks have been one of the league's better defensive teams, holding opponents to 96 points per game and 44.3 percent shooting.
ABOUT THE HEAT (4-3): Miami has topped 100 points all seven games, the longest streak to start a season in franchise history, and leads the league in shooting at a 51.6 percent clip. James, Dwyane Wade (20.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.2 assists) and Chris Bosh (18.5 points, 6.7 rebounds) are all putting up big numbers. Things haven't been so rosy at the other end, though, as the Heat suffered a defensive lapse in the second half against Boston, allowing the Celtics to shoot 61.9 percent and giving up a game-winning 3-pointer by Jeff Green at the buzzer.
* Under is 5-0-2 in the last seven meetings.
* Favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Under is 9-2-1 in the last 12 meetings in Miami.
* Heat are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games following a S.U. loss.
1. Wade needs four blocks to tie Dennis Johnson (675) for the most in NBA history by a guard 6-foot-4 or shorter.
2. Bucks F Carlos Delfino announced on his personal website Sunday that his foot injury will require additional surgery and he is likely to miss the entire season.
3. James has scored in double figures in 502 consecutive games, including all 224 contests he has played for the Heat.