The Sacramento Kings’ play against opponents from the Eastern Conference has contributed to their struggles this season. A trip to Milwaukee could possibly change their fortunes.
The Kings look to avoid their fourth consecutive loss overall while trying to continue their recent road success against the Bucks on Saturday night.
Milwaukee (21-25) won 129-122 at Sacramento on Jan. 16 to begin the Kings’ losing skid. Their most recent defeat came 110-107 at home to lowly Washington on Wednesday, dropping them to 0-16 against teams from the East in 2008-09.
Sacramento (10-33) has lost 17 in a row against opponents from that conference after a 106-100 victory over Toronto on March 16.
“It’s been a grind, losing is not fun. People talk bad about you and you know you’re better than the way you are performing and producing,” said Sacramento forward John Salmons, who had 24 points versus Washington.
With 3-18 road record, Sacramento is among the NBA’s worst away from home, but Milwaukee has actually been a place it’s played well of late.
Though the Bucks are 12-7 at home and won last week to snap a three-game losing streak to Sacramento, the Kings have won five of their last six at Milwaukee, which is coming off its largest defeat of the season, 117-87 at Atlanta on Friday.
“No more talk of ‘We’re a good team’ and potential,” star Michael Redd said after the Bucks’ third loss in four games. “We’ve got to bust through the ceiling of inconsistency.”
Sacramento won 102-89 on Dec. 19, 2007 in its last visit to Milwaukee. Beno Udrih had 24 points in that contest, and duplicated that total against Washington as the Kings cut a 19-point fourth-quarter deficit to one but fell just short.
Kevin Martin had 22 points versus the Wizards, and is averaging 26.9 in 12 games since returning from a left ankle injury.
Martin and Salmons each had 24 against the Bucks last week, but the Kings’ offense hasn’t been the problem. Opponents are averaging 107.7 points against Sacramento this season and 125.8 in the last five contests.
Redd had a season-high 44 points and Charlie Villanueva added 25 with 12 rebounds as Milwaukee shot 50.0 percent from the field and 10-for-17 from 3-point range against the Kings last week.
It was the second-highest scoring game for the Bucks, who looked like a completely different team against Atlanta.
Villanueva had 27 and Redd 16, but they were only two in double figures for Milwaukee, which shot 38.0 percent and went more than seven minutes without a field goal during the first half.
“It’s just not acceptable,” said Villanueva of the Bucks, who blew out Dallas by 34 on Wednesday. “We’ve shown how good we can play when we want to play. We’ve shown it. We just have to be a mature team and be more consistent.”
Redd is averaging 30.6 points in his last five games versus Sacramento. Villanueva, meanwhile, is averaging 27.3 on 31-for-52 shooting in his last three contests overall.
Milwaukee assistant coach Lionel Hollins was not on the bench against Atlanta, and is likely to replace the fired Marc Iavaroni as head coach in Memphis.