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12-17

Hornets-Bucks Preview

AP - Sports

The Milwaukee Bucks have lost four straight at home while the New Orleans Hornets have dropped six in a row on the road.

One of those streaks will end Wednesday night in the lone meeting of 2011-12 between the Bucks and Hornets.

Milwaukee (12-16), which fell 114-96 to Miami on Monday, last dropped five straight at home March 18-April 8, 2009.

New Orleans (5-23) is beginning a six-game trip as it looks to avoid its first seven-game road slide since Nov. 29-Dec. 27, 2010. The Hornets own the second-worst record in the NBA and things got worse Tuesday, when Eric Gordon underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee that will keep him out at least six more weeks.

Chris Kaman had a season-high 27 points and 13 boards as New Orleans ended an eight-game slide with an 86-80 win over Utah on Monday. Kaman made his first start since Jan. 14 after Emeka Okafor was scratched shortly before tipoff with a sore left knee.

With trade talk swirling around the Hornets, Kaman insists he is not letting it affect him.

"I know what I'm capable of. ... I'm just trying to be positive and do the best I can with the situation,'' he said. "I can't worry about the situation with trades. I can't worry about the situation with the organization. It's a business, so that part I have to leave alone. ... As far as the basketball goes, that's something I'm capable of doing."

Mexican rookie Gustavo Ayon scored 13 points and shot 6 of 7 in his fourth straight start while the Venezuelan-born Greivis Vasquez added 12 points and 10 assists for his second career double-double.

"Playing in the NBA is not easy," Vasquez said. "Imagine how many kids from Mexico and Venezuela want to play in the NBA, and now we are starting, so that's a blessing. He's a big-time Hornets player and wants to win night in and night out."

Italian shooting guard Marco Belinelli is the third player currently starting for the Hornets that was born outside the United States. The Bucks have two such players, with Argentine guard Carlos Delfino averaging 16.5 points over his last four games.

Delfino made eight of 12 shots and scored 24 points Monday.

"It's about the team," Delfino said. "If the shot goes in and we don't win, it's bad for me. I want to win."

Milwaukee allowed Miami to shoot 51.8 percent, the fifth time a Bucks opponent has made at least half of its shots.

The Bucks are allowing 97.1 points per game, one of the poorer marks in the NBA, after being third in the league at 92.7 a season ago.

"We're an average defensive team and we can't afford to be," coach Scott Skiles said. "We need to be above average. We've got our offensive numbers up to 95, 96 points a game.

"We talked about it before the season if we can keep our defense the same, it would be good for us. We haven't been able to do that."

New Orleans has won 10 of the last 11 matchups with Milwaukee. The Hornets' last six victories in the series have been by single digits.

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