While the Milwaukee Bucks have been able to overcome the loss of their best player, the lowly Miami Heat continue to struggle without one of their leaders.
The Bucks look to win their third straight game and hand the Heat their ninth consecutive loss when they meet on Wednesday night at the Bradley Center.
Milwaukee (14-20) opened 2008 with a 103-98 victory over Miami last Wednesday. The Bucks have won three of four games in the new year after losing 15 of their final 19 games of 2007.
Michael Redd, who leads Milwaukee in scoring with 23.4 points per game, left last week's win over the Heat in the third quarter with a deep left thigh bruise, and hasn't played since. Redd finished with eight points on just 3-of-10 shooting in 34 minutes against Miami, and is listed as day-to-day.
"As unfortunate as Mike's injury has been, it's brought us closer together," Bucks coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We're moving the ball well and playing well."
Milwaukee beat Philadelphia 87-83 on Tuesday to win back-to-back games for the first time since a season-high five straight wins from Nov. 14-24.
The Bucks are holding opponents to an average of 92.8 points in their last four games, after opponents averaged 109.8 in their final four games of 2007. Milwaukee failed to win any of those matchups.
Charlie Bell had 21 points against the 76ers after scoring a season-high 27 in Sunday's 93-89 win over Charlotte. Bell tallied just 12 points against the Heat last week, and is averaging 15.0 points in four games in 2008 after managing just 4.0 in his first 30 games this season.
"I'm finally feeling comfortable with my shot," Bell said. "I'm getting my confidence back and starting to come around."
Mo Williams had 21 points and nine assists on Tuesday. He finished with 25 and nine against Miami.
The Heat (8-27), owners of the worst record in the Eastern Conference, fell to league-worst Minnesota 101-91 on Tuesday. Miami's eight-game skid is its longest since dropping 12 straight from Nov. 8-Dec. 4, 2001.
The Heat have been without Shaquille O'Neal (hip) for their last six games, and although the 14-time All-Star is averaging a career-low 14.0 points and 7.8 rebounds this season, Miami sorely misses the future Hall of Famer's presence in the middle.
"We need to do one thing: play better," said Dwyane Wade, who has been unable to carry the Heat by himself. "It's that simple. We know the system works. We just need to play better."
Wade had 25 points, seven assists and five rebounds on Tuesday, and is averaging 20.5 points in his last four games.
The three-time All-Star had 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting and eight assists against the Bucks last week, and is averaging 28.5 points on 62.3 percent shooting in four games against them since the start of last season.
The Heat have lost seven straight road games, and are 4-16 away from Miami this season. The Bucks, meanwhile, have lost five of their last eight home games after starting the season 6-0 there.