|Heat look to rebound against Wizards|
The Miami Heat, in a battle for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot, will need to bounce back from a tough loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday when they head to the nation's capital to take on the slumping Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
The Bucks handed the Heat a 116-87 thrashing in Milwaukee. Miami could not stop Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Miami fell to 35-37 this season, and the team's hold on the last Eastern Conference playoff spot grew weaker, as the Magic posted a 123-119 overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. That moved Orlando to 35-38, just a half-game behind the Heat.
Both teams have one more game before a big meeting Tuesday night in Orlando.
The Heat, who saw a three-game winning streak end Friday, could not get going on offense at Milwaukee.
"They did a great job defensively," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of the Bucks. "We're an attacking team, and ... even when we did have some good plays, they were few and far between. They just keep on coming at you."
Spoelstra said his team would have to shake off the defeat and start thinking about the Wizards.
"We'll pack up, get on that bird and get ready for another battle (Saturday) night," the coach said.
Miami's Justise Winslow and Rodney McGruder were out of the lineup again Friday, and it was uncertain if they would play Saturday. Winslow now has been out for the past four games due to a bruised right thigh while McGruder has been sidelined for three consecutive games because of a sore left knee.
The bad news for the Heat from the Friday loss -- just their third setback in 11 games -- is that if they make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, and Milwaukee remains at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Bucks are the team Miami would meet in the first round.
In terms of the playoff race, Washington has been fading in its bid to stay alive.
The Wizards have dropped three in a row, most recently falling 113-108 to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday. Washington (30-43) is 5 1/2 games behind Miami, making the No. 8 spot a long shot at best.
Washington could not stop a balanced Denver attack that had eight players score in double figures. Bradley Beal led Washington with 25 points, and Thomas Bryant scored 22, but offense has not been the problem for the Wizards throughout much of the season.
The Wizards cut the Nuggets' lead to two points with 1:53 remaining, but the Washington defense stumbled again as Denver scored five straight to lock it up.
"Any time you lose, it's disappointing," Washington coach Scott Brooks said postgame. "We put a lot of work into it. The players do the same, and you want to get rewarded with great effort. A couple of breaks here and there; we had a good look to tie the game, then we had another good chance. ... Great effort by all of our guys."
--Field Level Media