MILWAUKEE — Khris Middleton and Bryn Forbes each scored 21 points to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Miami Heat 122-108 on Saturday night in a potential first-round playoff series preview.
Jrue Holiday added 20 points and 10 assists for the Bucks. Kendrick Nunn had a season-high 31 points for the Heat, who were without leading scorer Jimmy Butler because of lower back tightness.
The Bucks are third and the Heat sixth in the Eastern Conference standings, which would have them meeting in the first round of the playoffs. But neither team is locked into that position heading into the final day of the regular season.
Milwaukee still could earn the No. 2 seed if it wins at Chicago and the Brooklyn Nets lose at home to Cleveland on Sunday. Miami could move into the No. 5 spot if it beats Houston and the New York Knicks lose at home to Boston.
The Heat beat the top-seeded Bucks 4-1 in a second-round playoff series last year and went on to win the East title before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
Milwaukee led nearly the whole way Saturday thanks to a balanced attack.
Middleton also had seven rebounds and seven assists. Brook Lopez scored 18 points and shot 9 of 10. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 15 points, Bobby Portis 14, and Donte DiVincenzo added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic scored 17 points each for Miami.
The Bucks pulled ahead for good about two minutes into the game and led by as many as 24 during a first half in which they shot 65.1% (28 of 43) from the floor.
Milwaukee cooled off eventually, but its lead remained in double digits throughout the second half.
Heat: Butler didn’t play in any of the Heat’s three regular-season meetings with the Bucks. When these two teams split a pair of games in Miami on Dec. 29-30, Butler was out with a sprained right ankle. Butler averaged 23.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists during Miami’s second-round playoff series victory over the Bucks last season. … Milwaukee native Tyler Herro scored just three points while shooting 1 of 9 overall and 0 for 5 from 3-point range. Herro entered the night having shot 23 of 36 from 3-point range over his last six games.
Bucks: Jim Paschke, who is retiring at the end of the season after 35 years of broadcasting Bucks games, received a hearty ovation as he announced Milwaukee’s lineup before the regular-season home finale. In a videotaped message that aired midway through the second quarter, broadcasters from across the NBA offered tributes to Paschke.
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