Bucks-Cavaliers Preview

The Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks have the fewest wins in the NBA and have yet to post back-to-back victories.

The Bucks get another chance to accomplish that feat Friday night when they visit a slumping Cleveland Cavaliers team they beat early in the season and lost to in overtime last month.

Milwaukee gained a split of its first four games in 2013-14 by beating the visiting Cavaliers 109-104 on Nov. 6. Things haven't gone too well since then for the Bucks, who have lost 31 of 37 to drop to a league-worst 8-33.

They enter this meeting coming off a rare win after defeating Detroit 104-101 on Wednesday night to snap a nine-game losing streak. Caron Butler scored 30 points to help Milwaukee rally from 13 down in the third quarter.

"I told our guys after the game, it's nice to get off that losing streak. Let's enjoy the moment, remember what this feels like tomorrow," coach Larry Drew said. "By no stretch of the imagination is losing fun."

The Bucks haven't won two in a row since March 17-19.

"Believe me, it's great," rookie center Miroslav Raduljica said about ending the skid. "Because it was a little frustrating. It was a big stretch. I think this is a good way to start the second half of the season."

Raduljica played almost 20 minutes, nearly double his season average, as the Bucks were without second leading scorer O.J. Mayo and starting center Larry Sanders due to illness.

Sanders is second on the team with 6.7 rebounds per game, while Mayo is averaging 12.6 points off the bench. It's unsure if they'll be available Friday, but Butler thinks the Bucks can get by because their reserves have seen more action recently due to injuries.

"We're at the halfway point, and these guys have played a lot of minutes that usually you don't get," he said. "So, they're learning how to finish games. ... They're learning the ins and outs of the game on the fly, and I think it's all coming together slowly but surely."

Things are certainly not coming together for Cleveland, which has lost four of six and is struggling to score. The Cavaliers (15-27) lost 98-87 at home to Chicago on Wednesday, and they're averaging 85.1 points in their last seven defeats.

Kyrie Irving, named an All-Star starter for the first time Thursday, had 26 points to lead Cleveland.

"We're not making any excuses here," said Irving, who was also named one of 28 players up for selection by USA Basketball for the World Cup of Basketball this summer in Spain and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

"We've got to pick it up."

Cleveland beat the visiting Bucks 114-111 in OT on Dec. 20 behind Irving's 39 points. Mayo led the way for Milwaukee with 20, but he shot 6 of 21 and missed two 3-pointers in the last 10 seconds of the extra session.

Mayo had 28 points in the first matchup, while Irving scored 29. Irving's 28.5 points per game against the Bucks are his most versus any team.

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