Bucks-Bobcats Preview


With their longest winning streak of the season over, the Milwaukee Bucks must now focus on trying to end their struggles in Charlotte.

The Bucks can extend their overall winning streak away from home to five if they can snap a five-game road skid to the lowly Bobcats on Friday night.

Milwaukee (21-25) had averaged 113.3 points and made 50.4 percent of its shots during a six-game winning streak. That run ended Thursday when the Bucks shot 40.0 percent, including a 3-of-15 effort from 3-point range, in a 100-91 home loss to Boston.

Brandon Jennings scored 19 points but the Bucks fell for the first time since Chicago's Derrick Rose hit a buzzer-beater to deal them a 106-104 loss at home March 7.

Milwaukee is currently ninth in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games behind New York for the eighth and final playoff spot.

"A lot of guys didn't have their best game," said forward Drew Gooden, who was held to six points Thursday after averaging 19.8 in his previous eight contests.

Monta Ellis scored 13 while shooting 6 of 18 in his home debut for the Bucks. Ellis, who averaged 21.9 points for Golden State this season, is averaging 15.0 in three games since Milwaukee acquired him in a five-player deal March 14.

"It's still up and down, but I feel comfortable where I'm at,'' said Ellis, shooting 39.0 percent for the Bucks. "Just got to knock some shots down.''

Ellis has averaged 23.2 points in his last six games versus Charlotte.

The Bucks are averaging 111.5 points and shooting 50.1 percent during their longest road winning streak since a six-game run Feb. 5-27, 2010. Milwaukee has not nearly been that successful while dropping its last five visits to Charlotte, averaging 88.6 points and shooting 41.5 percent during the skid that dates to a 79-74 win Nov. 22, 2008.

It is Charlotte's longest current home winning streak against any opponent.

Brandon Jennings scored 22 points Dec. 26 at Charlotte, but the Bucks were outscored 30-14 in the third quarter of a season-opening 96-95 loss.

The Bobcats (7-37) have won just three more times at Time Warner Cable Arena since that victory, and are looking to bounce back from a 105-80 home loss to Philadelphia on Monday. Gerald Henderson had a team-high 14 points for Charlotte, which remains the only NBA team without 10 wins.

"We are a young club and we have to learn,'' coach Paul Silas said. "Playing young guys as much as we have to play them they're going to make mistakes. It's not easy. It usually takes two to three years to learn how to play this game. We just need that experience.''

Silas' club will move on without former starting forward Boris Diaw, who was waived this week when the team agreed to a contract buyout. Diaw averaged 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 28 games this season, but had fallen out of favor with Silas.

"We have to go straight up with who we have and we wish him well," Silas said.

Henderson had 18 points and nine rebounds against the Bucks earlier this season.