The Milwaukee Bucks are enjoying their longest winning streak in nearly five years, but its been almost four years since their last win in Cleveland.
LeBron James looks to lead the Cavaliers to their seventh straight home win over the surging Bucks at Quicken Loans Arena on Friday.
James has never lost a home game to Milwaukee (15-14), and the Cavaliers (16-11) outscored the Bucks by an average of 9.7 points in those six wins.
James averaged 35.3 points while shooting 54.0 percent in four games against the Bucks last season, including a season-high, 52-point effort in Cleveland’s 111-106 loss on Dec. 10, 2005. The Cavs went on to win the next three games over Milwaukee, and this is the first of four meetings this season between the Central Division rivals.
In 11 career games against the Bucks, James is averaging 30.6 points, his second-highest average against any opponent.
James, who turns 22 years old on Saturday, scored 27 points in Wednesday’s 89-76 win over Atlanta, and is averaging 30.5 points in his last four games.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16 points on 8-of 13 shooting against the Hawks, and is averaging 18.0 points on 50 percent shooting in his last four games after averaging 10.2 points on 45.1 percent shooting in his first 23.
Although Cleveland has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, it is just 8-8 since Nov. 22, and coach Mike Brown has not been overly impressed.
Wednesday’s victory gave the Cavaliers a chance to win three straight games for the first time since winning a season-high five in a row Nov. 9-17.
“It’s part of the growing pains of the season,” Brown said. “We won 50 games last year, we made it to the second round and everybody anointed us as the Eastern Conference champs. You tend to believe the hype sometimes. You tend to lose focus. I thought as an organization, not just as a team but as an organization, we believed the hype.”
The Cavs have been able to make up for their mediocre last month, though, by going 12-3 at home.
The Bucks have won three straight road games, but have not won at Cleveland since a 106-94 victory on Jan. 6, 2003.
Milwaukee defeated Memphis 112-96 on Wednesday to win its sixth straight game—its longest since winning eight in a row Jan. 8-21, 2002.
“Our goal was to get back above .500. We wanted to get six in a row, so it feels good to win,” said Michael Redd, who scored 20 points.
The Bucks moved a game above .500 with Wednesday’s win for the first time since starting the season 2-1. They have not been two games over .500 since Feb. 15, when they were 27-25.
Although Redd is averaging 27.0 points during the win streak—0.9 points below his season average—Milwaukee has been winning with its high-scoring offense. The Bucks are averaging 113.8 points on 51.3 percent shooting during their run, compared to averaging 103.3 points and 48.0 percent shooting for the season.
Mo Williams has been one of the biggest reasons for Milwaukee’s higher scoring of late, averaging 24.3 points during the winning streak—6.8 points more than his season average.
The Bucks and Cavs meet again on Jan. 5 at Milwaukee.
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