After getting another outstanding game from Bogut, the Bucks look to win five straight for the first time in more than two years as they visit the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night.
Following a 115-95 win over New Orleans on Wednesday night, Milwaukee (28-28) has a chance to win five in a row for the first time since November 2007. The Bucks, tied with Miami for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, are back at .500 for the first time since Dec. 12.
“We’re a fun team to watch,” coach Scott Skiles said. “We fought our way back to get to .500. In order to get over .500, at some point you have to get to .500. That’s silly, but it’s true. Now we’ve gotten there.”
This is the first time Milwaukee has been .500 or better following the All-Star break since 2005-06, its last playoff season.
“We’ve played pretty well in this stretch,” Bogut said. “We’ve got to stay grounded, though. We’re at .500, that’s nothing to be proud about. We can’t get cocky because obviously you guys are going to be talking about playoffs and the fans are going to start getting more and more vocal.”
Bogut was a rookie when the Bucks last made the playoffs. The first overall pick in the draft, he averaged 9.4 points and 7.0 rebounds that season.
Though he has yet to be the dominant player the Bucks thought they were getting, Bogut’s development has been steady. His 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game this season are all career highs, and he’s been particularly effective over the last three weeks.
Bogut is averaging 19.0 points and 12.5 rebounds over his last eight games. He had 26 points and 13 rebounds versus New Orleans, two days after a 24-point, 20-rebound, five-block effort in an 83-67 victory over New York.
In two games against Indiana (19-38), Bogut is averaging 26.0 points and 13.0 rebounds while shooting 67.6 percent from the field to lead Milwaukee to wins in each contest. The Bucks had lost nine straight at Indiana before an 84-81 victory Dec. 21.
Now, Milwaukee has a chance to win five straight overall on the road for the first time since a six-game run in January 2003.
The Pacers have lost six of eight at home. They’re playing consecutive games at Conseco Fieldhouse following a 120-110 loss at Chicago on Wednesday night.
Granger is averaging 22.9 points on the season and 27.0 over his last five games. Still, the Pacers lost four of those contests and have dropped six of seven overall.
Granger was held to 14 points and 5-of-14 shooting in a 93-81 loss at Milwaukee on Feb. 6.
Mike Dunleavy, averaging 7.5 points and shooting 23.1 percent in two games versus the Bucks this season, is expected to be back on the court after sitting out Wednesday because of food poisoning. The veteran swingman has been held to five points or fewer in each of his last three home games.