The No. 1 vs. 8 series in the Eastern Conference playoffs will be a familiar matchup, as the Milwaukee Bucks will face the Miami Heat for the third time in four postseasons. Each team has won one of the previous two meetings; the Heat in the second round in the bubble in 2020 and the Bucks in the first round in 2021. 

After a bit of a mid-season slump, the Bucks caught fire in the second half of the season to surge to the top of the East. They had a 16-game winning streak at one point and eventually finished 58-24 to claim not only the No. 1 seed in the East, but the best record in the league and homecourt advantage throughout the season.

This was a frustrating season for the Heat, who were not able to build on a trip to the Eastern Conference finals. At 44-38, they were forced to enter the Play-In Tournament and lost to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round before sneaking past the Chicago Bulls in the second round. As a result, they dropped down to the No. 8 seed and will now have to face the Bucks in the playoffs.

Ahead of all the action, here's everything you need to know about this series:

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (8) Miami Heat

All times Eastern

  • Game 1 (at MIL): Sunday, April 16 | 5:30 p.m. | TV: TNT | Live stream: TNT app
  • Game 2 (at MIL): Wednesday, April 19 | 9 p.m. | TV: NBA TV | Live streamfuboTV (try for free)
  • Game 3 (at MIA): Saturday, April 22 | 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Live streamfuboTV (try for free)
  • Game 4 (at MIA): Monday, April 24 | 7 p.m. | TV: TBD
  • Game 5* (at MIL): Wednesday, April 26 | TBD | TV: TBD
  • Game 6* (at MIA): Friday, April 28 | TBD | TV: TBD
  • Game 7* (at MIL): Sunday, April 30 | TBD | TV: TBD

*If necessary


Bucks' top-five defense vs. Heat's (nearly) bottom-five offense

The Bucks ended up finishing fourth in defensive rating at 110.9 points allowed per 100 possessions, but they just might have the best defensive unit in the league. Jrue Holiday can make a claim as the best perimeter defender, Defensive Player of the Year finalist Brook Lopez can make a claim as the best rim protector and then there's Giannis Antetokounmpo wreaking havoc as a weak-side roamer. 

On the other side, the Heat finished 25th in the league in offensive rating, scoring just 112.3 points per 100 possessions. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro each averaged over 20 points per game, but they have no other reliable scorers and were one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league (27th in the league at 34.4 percent). In their two play-in games, the Heat barely managed to reach 100 points. 

Given the disparity between the two teams in those categories, it's extremely hard to see how the Heat score enough to beat the Bucks four times. 

Health concerns on each side

The Bucks are still convinced that they would have repeated as champions last season if Khris Middleton hadn't gone down with an MCL sprain in their first-round series against the Bulls. Unfortunately for him and the Bucks, he isn't 100 percent this time around either. 

Middleton has been nursing a sore right knee (not the one he injured in the playoffs last season) for a few months and re-aggravated it, ironically, against the Bulls in the final week of the season. He is expected to suit up in Game 1, but it's unclear how many minutes he'll play or how effective he'll be. 

There are similar questions for the Heat, namely regarding Kyle Lowry. The veteran point guard came off the bench in the second round of the Play-In Tournament and was limited to 20 minutes due to a nagging knee injury. He'll be listed as questionable for Game 1, and though he'll likely play there's no telling how much his knee can handle. 

Joining Lowry on the injury report is Gabe Vincent, who has taken the veteran's place in the starting lineup. He's dealing with a hip injury and is also questionable. If both of them are limited, it's going to be even more difficult for the Heat to manufacture offense. 

Another Bucks-Heat matchup

There is some real history between these two teams, who will now meet in the playoffs for the third time in four seasons. In addition to the frequency of their meetings, there's an additional layer of intrigue given the importance of the previous matchups. 

Back in 2020 in the bubble, the Bucks were one of the primary title favorites, but were bounced out of the playoffs in the second round by the Heat, who went on to make the Finals. When they played again the next season, the Bucks swept the Heat in dominant fashion en route to their first title in 50 years. 

Could the Bucks use another first-round series with the Heat as a springboard to another title? They'll certainly hope so. 


The Heat are tough and experienced, but they are nowhere near as good as the Bucks. This should be a relatively pain-free series for the Bucks. Pick: Milwaukee in 4