Milwaukee has posted back-to-back road wins only once all season, but now appears to have a good opportunity to do it again within the next two days.
With renewed confidence following Friday’s 109-101 home victory over Dallas, the Bucks visit Washington—owner of the league’s third-worst record—before Monday’s matchup with a Philadelphia team that may still be missing Allen Iverson.
The Bucks have lost three straight and six of seven on the road. However, they got their sixth straight home win Friday, posting their highest point total of the season and committing a season-low five turnovers while totaling 28 assists.
“The most important thing was that we shared the ball,” Milwaukee coach Terry Porter said.
Porter got a big lift from unheralded centers Brian Skinner and Dan Gadzuric. Skinner, playing his fourth game since missing nearly two months due to knee surgery, had a season-high 20 points and seven rebounds in just 20 minutes. Gadzuric added 14 points, 12 boards and five blocks off the bench.
“Great production from that position,” said Michael Redd, who led the Bucks with 21 points. “The bigs took the challenge tonight, came in and asserted themselves.”
Washington got solid production from its big men Friday, snapping a five-game losing streak with a 97-79 victory over Golden State.
Christian Laettner, who didn’t play in two of the team’s last three games, got a rare start and had eight points, six rebounds and nine assists. Laettner was in for rookie Jarvis Hayes, who was out of the starting lineup for the first time since November, but responded with 20 points off the bench.
Jared Jeffries added 10 points and tied a career high with 12 rebounds for the Wizards, who set season highs in rebounds (58) and assists (30). The victory came after a one-hour players-only meeting Thursday.
“We’re not a team in disarray. We’re together,” coach Eddie Jordan said. “We just haven’t been able to win ballgames.”
STANDINGS (through Jan. 2): Bucks - 5th place, 7 GB, Central Division. Wizards - 6th place, 8 GB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Bucks - Redd, 22 ppg; Smith, 9 rpg; Ford, 6.7 apg. Wizards - Arenas, 18.9 ppg and 5.3 apg; Thomas, 7.5 rpg.
SEASON SERIES: Wizards, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Dec. 6; Wizards, 114-109, OT. At Milwaukee, Hughes scored 36 points, including the first eight in overtime, as Washington snapped a nine-game losing streak at the Bradley Center.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bucks - 5-12 on the road; Wizards - 5-8 at home.