The Bucks have won back-to-back games three times in November, and will try to win three in a row for the first time since January when they look to end a five-game skid in Orlando on Monday.
While a four- and a five-game win streak have vaulted the Magic (9-4) into first place, Milwaukee (7-8) has continued to display the lack of consistency that defined its 2007-08 season, when it won three in a row just twice.
After failing in their first two attempts for a three-game winning streak in 2008-09, the Bucks now have a third chance to win three in a row for the first time since Jan. 6-9.
That could happen if Milwaukee continues to play the strong defense that has keyed its consecutive victories. The Bucks held New York to 34.4 percent shooting in a 104-87 win Friday, then limited Charlotte to 37.2 percent in a sloppy 79-74 victory Saturday.
The 74 points are the fewest Milwaukee has allowed on the road since defeating Toronto 82-62 on Nov. 23, 2003. The Bucks beat the Bobcats despite turning the ball over 21 times and shooting 36.8 percent from the floor.
“With all the turnovers and poor shooting percentage, for us to still get the win is something else,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “These types of games add up at the end of the year.”
Bucks star Michael Redd remains out with a high ankle sprain and may miss another week, but second-year guard Ramon Sessions continues to impress in expanded minutes off the bench. He had 15 points and 10 assists against the Knicks and scored a team-high 18 points versus Charlotte.
Sessions is averaging 15.5 points and a team-high 5.5 assists, and has scored in double figures in all of his 13 games this season.
“I’m just staying aggressive,” Sessions said. “When I get a shot I take it, and when I see a guy open I hit him.”
The Magic had a chance to notch a sixth consecutive win for the first time in nearly two years Saturday, but came up short at home against Houston. Orlando shot 40.7 percent from the field - Rashard Lewis was 6-of-21 - and lost 100-95 with center Dwight Howard plagued by foul trouble.
The flu caused forward Hedo Turkoglu to miss his first game since Jan. 10, 2007, though he’s expected to play Monday.
“I don’t think we made more mistakes than they did, we just shot the ball very poorly, particularly in the second half,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “When they made defensive mistakes and left people open, we didn’t make them pay.”
Orlando has the Eastern Conference’s highest-scoring starting lineup at 81.8 points per game, but also has by far the league’s least effective bench (17.2 ppg). With Turkoglu unavailable, Keith Bogans started and managed just five points in his place.
The Magic have gotten off to a strong start without much consistent shooting from Turkoglu and Lewis. The two had nearly identical numbers last season - around 45 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range - but they’ve struggled shooting the ball this season. Lewis is hitting 40.7 percent from the floor and Turkoglu is at 36.1.
Lewis could regain his touch Monday. He’s averaging 23.3 points on 51.6 percent shooting in his last six games versus the Bucks.
Milwaukee has lost its last five at Orlando by an average of 16.0 points.