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Heat forward Jimmy Butler (ankle) ruled out vs. Bucks

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Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (ankle) has been downgraded to out for tonight’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks. This will be the second straight game Butler has missed.

The six-time All-Star also sat out Miami’s 112-97 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. Butler, 34, is averaging 20.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.4 steals in 14 starts this season.

Referring to a few NBA betting sites, the Miami Heat hold 10th-shortest odds to win this season’s championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers.

In Miami’s 122-115 win over the Nets on Nov. 16, the 13-year veteran recorded a season-high 36 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, and three blocks in 35 minutes of action.

For the rest of the Heat’s injury report, forward Haywood Highsmith (lower back) is questionable and both center Bam Adebayo (left hip) and forward Duncan Robinson (right thumb) are probable versus Milwaukee.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (ankle) has been downgraded to out against Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks won 122-114 over Miami in the first meeting on Oct. 30. Adebayo didn’t play, whereas Butler and Tyler Herro were in the lineup. However, while Adebayo is available, both Butler and Herro are out tonight. It figures.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee forward Jae Crowder (groin) remains out indefinitely, and guard Khris Middleton (Achilles) is listed as questionable as well. The Bucks are 7-1 in their last eight games.

For noteworthy betting trends, Milwaukee is 0-6 straight up in its past six road games against Miami. The Bucks are 15-5 against the spread in their previous 20 contests as well.

As for the Heat, they’re 9-3 SU in their last 12 games. Not to mention, Miami is 1-6 ATS in its past seven home games, and the Eastern Conference contender is 7-3 ATS in its previous 10 contests.

According to ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, the Bucks hold a 60.3% chance of defeating Miami at home. NBA sportsbooks show the Heat as 3.5-point underdogs.





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Hawks are 750-750 in their last 1,500 games

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The Atlanta Hawks are 750-750 in their last 1,500 games played. Excluding playoff wins, Atlanta’s W-L record during this stretch dates back to the 2004-05 season. The Hawks scored 156,041 points in that span, per StatMuse.

According to the Basketball-Reference database, the Hawks’ all-time W-L record is 2,915-2,996. Atlanta has 49 playoff appearances and one championship (1957-58 St. Louis Hawks).

The Hawks won a franchise-record 60 games in the 2014-15 season. Atlanta’s Southeast Division title that campaign was the team’s first since winning the Central Division in 1994.

That was the club’s most successful season since finishing at the top of the Eastern Conference in 1993-94. It marked the first time since the Southeast Division was created (ahead of 2004-05) that the division title was not won by a team from the state of Florida.

Atlanta reached its first-ever Eastern Conference Finals since the NBA was divided into two conferences, but the club’s season ended with a four-game sweep against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Hawks returned to the conference finals in 2021.

However, they were defeated in six games by the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks, led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.

Atlanta Hawks’ longest win streak during their 1,500-game stretch was 19 games in the 2014-15 season

Furthermore, Atlanta’s longest win streak during that 1,500-game span was 19 games in the 2014-15 season as well. The team also won eight straight games in the 2020-21 season.

The Hawks lost 10 straight games in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

Through 56 games of the 2023-24 season, the club is 24-32 and sits 10th overall in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks are 13-16 at home, 11-16 away, and 14-24 against East opponents.

Additionally, Atlanta is 17-14 as a selected favorite, 7-18 as an underdog, and 17-39 against the spread this season.

The Hawks struggled Friday night in their first game since the All-Star break. In Atlanta’s 123-121 loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Hawks missed 13 straight shots after taking a 2-0 lead.

The Raptors led 15-2 before Dejounte Murray ended the brick streak with a layup. The Hawks shot 30% from the floor in the opening frame — going 1 for 9 from 3-point range and missing five free throws.

Atlanta is now on a three-game losing streak. The franchise’s longest win streak this season has been just four games (Oct. 29-Nov. 4 and later matched from Jan. 13-20).

The Hawks host Orlando on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.





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Warriors’ Steve Kerr signs 2-year, $35M deal as highest-paid coach

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Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr is now the NBA’s highest-paid coach after signing a two-year, $35 million contract extension with the organization, agents Rick Smith and Dan Eveloff of Priority Sports announced Friday.

His current deal was set to expire at the end of the 2023-24 season. Kerr’s new extension, worth $17.5 million per season, takes him through the 2025-26 campaign. His .655 winning percentage is fifth in NBA history.

Kerr, 58, has coached the Warriors to four franchise championships (2015, 2017-18, 2022), six NBA Finals (2015-19, 2022), and seven playoff appearances (2015-19, 2022-23).

Golden State general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Kerr’s representatives have been negotiating a new deal for quite a while.

“I think it’s incredible,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said of Kerr’s extension. “Wouldn’t want to finish my time here with any other coach. What he’s meant to this franchise … the winning ways that he brought here, you can’t replace that. … He got what he deserved.”

More importantly, this was also a big day for Dunleavy and Warriors priority owner Joe Lacob, considering Golden State never reached an extension with former president and GM Bob Myers, who left after the 2022-23 season.

Green never had any doubt about Kerr receiving a new deal and becoming the league’s highest-paid coach.

“No, because I know Joe is going to do the right thing,” Green said of Lacob. “He’s done nothing but build that trust with us that he’s going to do the right thing and take care of those who take care of this organization.”

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr won his 500th career regular-season game in only 764 games

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich makes more than Steve Kerr annually. However, Popovich holds the dual title of president and coach. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also signed an eight-year extension worth $15 million per season.

During the offseason, Monty Williams signed a six-year, $72 million deal with the Detroit Pistons that could reach up to eight years and $100 million with incentives. By annual salary, Popovich ($20 million) leads all, followed by Kerr ($17.5 million), Spoelstra ($15 million), and Williams ($13.3 million).

On May 14, 2014, Kerr inked a five-year, $25 million deal to become the Warriors coach, succeeding Mark Jackson. Later that year on Dec. 10, he became the first NBA rookie coach to win 21 of his first 23 games.

The 2015-16 Warriors won 73 regular-season games, breaking the record for the most wins in an NBA season. Kerr went on to win NBA Coach of the Year that season.

Kerr won his 500th regular-season game on Feb. 15, 2024, against the Utah Jazz.

He accomplished the feat in 764 games, the fifth-fewest games needed to reach the milestone behind only Phil Jackson (682), Pat Riley (684), K.C. Jones (731), and Popovich (745).

Kerr joined Alvin Attles (557) as the only coaches in franchise history to win at least 500 games. Contrary to popular belief, he deserves to be the highest-paid coach.

Kerr is credited for coaching and maintaining the Warriors’ dynasty — built around Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Green — for over a decade. He is the fourth coach in NBA history to win two championships in his first three seasons of coaching.

Additionally, he is Team USA’s national coach and will coach the Americans in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Now in his ninth season, Kerr is 502-264 during his tenure with Golden State.





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Victor Wembanyama becomes 2nd NBA rookie to post a 5×5 game

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San Antonio Spurs rookie forward/center Victor Wembanyama joined Jamal Tinsley (2001) as the only NBA players to record a 5×5 game, in Friday night’s 123-118 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

A 5×5 is when a player tallies at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals, and five blocks in a game. Wembanyama is the second player to notch five blocks and five steals in consecutive games, joining Michael Jordan.

He fell one assist shy of a 5×5 outing in Sacramento on Thursday night. The rookie star logged 19 points, 13 boards, four assists, five steals, and five blocks in 31 minutes played.

On Nov. 16, 2001, Tinsley posted 12 points, nine rebounds, 15 assists, six steals, and five blocks in a whopping 51 minutes of action with the Indiana Pacers against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After Friday’s loss, Wembanyama paused to consider Jordan’s feat and then asked, “I wonder if he did it in wins.” While San Antonio’s No. 1 overall pick accomplished the feat in losses, Jordan did in fact do it in wins.

The Spurs rookie finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals, and five blocks to become just the 15th player in NBA history to record a 5×5 and the first since Jusuf Nurkic in 2019.

The NBA Rookie of the Year favorite scored 16 points in the first quarter alone.

Victor Wembanyama is the first NBA player to average a 5×5 over a two-game stretch since 1973-74

“He doesn’t have a ceiling,” LeBron James said of Wembanyama. “He can do whatever he wants to do in his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts the work in, just from the outside looking in. … I said a long time ago how special he was, and it’s really that simple.”

The 7-foot-4 forward/center also became the second player with a stat line of 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five blocks, and five steals — joining Hakeem Olajuwon, who did it four times.

Moreover, Wemby became the first player in NBA history to average a 5×5 over a two-game stretch since 1973-74, when blocks were first tracked as an official stat.

Wembanyama played 31 minutes, the fewest in a 5×5 game. At just 20 years and 50 days old, he became the youngest player to achieve the statistical mark.

However, similar to two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, the Frenchman cares more about winning than individual records.

“To me, it’s secondary,” Wembanyama said. “Hopefully in the future, and think this is a good performance, but as of today, I can’t be satisfied with a loss.”

Among the NBA players to register a 5×5 include Anthony Davis (at Philadelphia on Nov. 21, 2018), Draymond Green (at Boston on Dec. 11, 2015), Nic Batum (vs. New Orleans on Dec. 16, 2012), Andrei Kirilenko (vs. LAL on Jan. 3, 2006), Marcus Camby (vs. Utah on Jan. 9, 2004), Vlade Divac (vs. Philadelphia on Feb. 22, 1995), etc.

San Antonio finished on a 17-5 run with under four minutes remaining, but it was not enough to secure the win. The Spurs’ latest loss dropped them to 11-46 for the season. It was their 10th loss in 11 games.





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