Since that game in the season’s second week, both teams have dropped to the bottom of their respective divisions thanks in part to injuries to many key players.
Only one of the Bucks’ opening night starters played in Milwaukee’s last game. Michael Redd and Mo Williams were sidelined with sore knees, and Charlie Villanueva (shoulder) and Andrew Bogut (foot) are out for the season. Ruben Patterson was the only holdover for Milwaukee (26-48).
“It’s gotten a little bit comical with some of the injuries,” Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “There’s no use crying about it. You might as well get a chuckle out of it.”
The Hawks, meanwhile, had only two of their regular starters in the lineup on Wednesday. Joe Johnson could be out for the season with a calf injury, Josh Childress will not play again this season because of a foot problem and Speedy Claxton has been sidelined by a left knee injury. That leaves Josh Smith and Zaza Pachulia carrying the load for Atlanta (27-48).
“We’re missing Joe Johnson, Childress, Speedy. We’re playing with guys who probably wouldn’t be playing a whole lot of minutes, and it’s been tough,” coach Mike Woodson said.
The only meeting between these teams this season came on Nov. 14 in Atlanta, where Redd converted the go-ahead 3-point play with 27 seconds left as Milwaukee won 103-101. The Bucks overcame a 31-8 Hawks run in the second half and rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter of a game that featured seven lead changes in the final 3:11.
While it’s unclear if Redd or Williams will play Friday, the Bucks overcame their injury woes Wednesday to beat another last-place team, 98-89 over Boston. Earl Boykins scored 32 points as Milwaukee snapped its season high-tying seven-game losing streak.
The Hawks are trying to snap a seven-game skid of their own. They lost a season-high eight in a row from Dec. 16-Jan. 5.
Atlanta went 2-of-13 from 3-point range in a 101-86 loss to New Jersey on Wednesday.
Josh Smith has tried to pick up the slack since Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, was injured on March 5. Though he was held to 15 points against New Jersey, Smith is averaging 20.3 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.4 blocks since Johnson went down.
“I understand that when Joe’s out everybody has to be counted on to do more,” Smith told the team’s official Web site. “I put it on my shoulders to elevate my game to another level, even higher than where I was playing.”
Even with Smith playing well, the Hawks have lost four in a row at home.
The Bucks have lost 15 of 16 games on the road, where they haven’t won since March 2.