After a dominating stretch of defensive performances against some of the NBA’s elite, the Milwaukee Bucks suffered a letdown against one of the worst their last time out.
The Bucks will try to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time in two months when they visit the Kings.
A recent surge by Milwaukee (36-30) has the Bucks in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They came into their last game having won 12 of 13 and on a six-game run—including victories over Cleveland, Boston and Utah—in which their opponents averaged 85.2 points.
After having to hold off Indiana 98-94 on Sunday, Milwaukee fell 101-93 to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday in the opener of a three-game trip.
The Bucks allowed Los Angeles, which had dropped eight straight, to shoot 53.1 percent and lead by as many as 16. They tried to rally but never got closer than six after the Clippers went on a 14-2 run to take an 88-76 lead.
“It was an embarrassment,” coach Scott Skiles said. “We didn’t come ready to play. Our defense I’d like to say it was awful, but it probably wasn’t that good.”
In Milwaukee’s previous 13 games, opponents averaged 87.2 points. The Bucks haven’t lost two in a row since Jan. 16-18.
They will continue their trip, which ends Saturday against Denver, with a visit to Arco Arena, where they snapped a four-game skid with a 129-122 win Jan. 16, 2009. Milwaukee fell 96-95 at home to the Kings on Dec. 19 after Evans scored with 0.9 seconds left.
Evans, who finished with a game-high 22 points, and Milwaukee rookie Brandon Jennings(notes) garnered most of the focus in that contest. Jennings has scored 20 or more points in three of the last five games, including a team-high 21 against the Clippers, while Evans, who leads all rookies in scoring with 20.3 points per game, has averaged 27.0 in his last two.
“It’s definitely good when you have matchups like (this) because it means those guys are doing something good in this league and (making) their names known,” forward Jason Thompson(notes) told the Kings’ official Web site.
Evans scored 25 points to go along with 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Kings (23-45) lost for the fifth time in seven games Tuesday, 106-99 to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Coming off a 114-100 win over the Timberwolves on Sunday in which they rested many of their starters, the Kings came out flat and trailed 28-17 at the end of the first quarter.
Evans scored eight points in the fourth to pull the Kings within eight with 1:32 left, but they couldn’t get the stops they needed.
Friday closes a five-game homestand for the Kings, who are 17-17 at Arco.