The struggling Bucks look to set a franchise record for consecutive wins over the Timberwolves, who will be trying to avoid the worst 22-game start in franchise history when the teams meet Saturday night.
Milwaukee (9-13) has lost nine of 11 after starting the season strong, but it has a chance to gain some momentum against lowly Minnesota (3-18). The Bucks swept two games against the Timberwolves in 2006-07, and has won three straight against them for just the third time.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has lost eight of nine following its second win of the season, and has tied the 1991-92 team for the worst 21-game start in franchise history. That team won its next game, however, finishing the season at 15-67.
“We are tired of hearing that we deserve a better record,” Wolves swingman Marko Jaric said after a 99-88 loss to Seattle on Friday night. “We need to understand, have a sense of urgency right now, and we need to start winning some games. How? I don’t know how.
“We need to start stealing these games. Do something. This is really a tough one, and I don’t know.”
Although Minnesota has been better on defense in recent games, holding four of its last five opponents under 100 points, it is allowing 101.3 points per game on the season. Now, the Wolves will face one of the league’s premier scorers in Bucks guard Michael Redd.
Redd is averaging 26.8 points in his last four games against Minnesota, but is coming off his worst performance of the season. He had just seven points in a 104-82 loss to Boston on Friday night as Milwaukee fell to 2-6 in December.
Redd, who is averaging a team-high 23.4 points per game, hadn’t scored fewer than seven points since a six-point performance versus Indiana on March 31, 2004. He missed all three of his 3-point attempts against the Celtics, and the Bucks went a combined 4-for-19 (21.1 percent) from beyond the arc as they missed a chance to win consecutive games over the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
Milwaukee beat Southeast Division-leading Orlando 100-86 on Wednesday night. Redd narrowly missed his first career triple-double in that game, finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
The Bucks now return to the Bradley Center, where they are 7-2 on the season. They have beaten the Wolves three straight times at home since losing their previous eight against them there.
Milwaukee will be facing a Minnesota team coming off one of its worst offensive games of the season, shooting 39.3 percent (33-for-84) from the field against Seattle. The Wolves are 0-12 when trailing after three quarters, and have lost all 16 games in which they’ve failed to reach 100 points.
Al Jefferson, though, was a bright spot again for Minnesota on Friday, finishing with 22 points and 16 boards. The fourth-year center is having a career season, averaging a team-best 20.0 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.