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Bucks-Rockets Preview

AP - Sports

The Houston Rockets are back on track with their longest winning streak in four seasons, but coach Kevin McHale has a bigger concern - the Milwaukee Bucks.

Houston looks for its eighth straight victory and 12th in a row at home in this series Wednesday night when the Bucks go for their first three-game road winning streak in two seasons.

Since losing a season-high four in a row to open the new year, the Rockets (10-7) have won eight of nine. Monday's 107-92 victory at Minnesota gave the team its longest winning streak since a franchise-record 22-game run from Jan. 29-March 16, 2008.

"This is a next-game league," McHale said following Tuesday's practice. "You don't look behind too much, you don't look ahead too much. Our biggest challenge right now is Milwaukee tomorrow night."

The Rockets open a stretch of three games in four nights, but they won't have to travel anywhere for their next four contests. Houston is looking to match its best start at home since opening 8-1 five years ago.

The Rockets have not dropped a home game to Milwaukee since a 98-93 loss Nov. 2, 1999.

The Bucks lost 93-84 in their last visit Jan. 17, 2011, to remain the NBA's only team without a victory at the eight-year-old Toyota Center.

Milwaukee (6-10), though, has been playing better away from home, winning its last two after going winless in its first eight road games. However, after posting wins at New York and Miami, the Bucks failed to record a season-high third straight victory on Monday, losing 97-92 at home to Atlanta.

"We played well on the road, and we were almost good enough tonight, but just came up a little short," Mike Dunleavy said after scoring a season-best 17 points.

The Bucks could have a much better chance of winning three consecutive road games for the first time since April 6-14, 2010, if Brandon Jennings and Shaun Livingston - who has started the last three contests - can slow down Kevin Martin and Kevin Lowry.

Martin is scoring 23.6 points per game during the winning streak - 4.1 more than his season average. He totaled 59 points as these teams split the two-game series in 2010-11.

Lowry is averaging 18.1 with 7.9 assists and 7.0 rebounds in the last seven games after recording his second career triple-double Monday with 16 points, 10 assists and 10 boards.

Backup point guard Goran Dragic leads the Rockets' reserves with 54 points during the 7-0 run, while forward Patrick Patterson has 47 with 23 rebounds during this stretch.

The two combined for 27 of the team's 36 bench points on Monday.

"It's always good to get balanced scoring and have everyone contributing to a win like that,'' Lowry said.

Rockets center Samuel Dalembert has been a major contributor since the team's last defeat Jan. 11 at San Antonio, averaging 13.1 points, 11.9 boards and 2.6 blocks.

Bucks center Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 10 rebounds in last season's loss in Houston. He scored 24 points with 22 boards and five blocks in a 97-91 home win over the Rockets on Dec. 10, 2010.

Jennings missed the Bucks' last defeat in Houston with a broken left foot. The third-year point guard is averaging 27.5 points and 7.0 assists in the last four games.

The Rockets are going for their first six-game home winning streak reeling off seven straight from March 14-April 3.

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