The Milwaukee Bucks hope to get back on the right track Friday night when they visit the Target Center to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Bucks still lead the Central Division, but their cushion slipped to a half game over the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks have lost four of their last five, and had it not been for a 27-point miracle comeback against the Bulls on Monday, this would be a serious losing streak.
"We just have to play a lot better," said reserve star Mike Dunleavy. "The last four or five games, with the exception of the last quarter of the Bulls game, we haven't played good basketball. We have to be more consistent."
The Bucks' most recent loss came Wednesday night, at home against the New York Knicks. New York won the second and third quarters by 21 points and eventually cruised to a 102-88 victory.
During this bad run, the Bucks have allowed opponents to score over 100 points three times and gotten over the century mark themselves just once.
The Timberwolves return home after a four-game road trip that saw them go 1-3. After this game on Friday, the Wolves head back on the road with a quick two- day trip to play the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics.
Kevin Love returned just before Minnesota embarked on this road sojourn and he's been spectacular. Love is averaging 23.0 ppg and 15.6 rpg.
The Wolves have been decimated this season by injuries, starting with Love and Ricky Rubio missing time at the start. Love obviously returned, but Rubio hasn't.
Chase Budinger and Brandon Roy are both out following surgery. Nikola Pekovic sat out two games and reserve guard J.J. Barea missed five games with left mid-foot sprain.
The constants were Luke Ridnour and Andrei Kirilenko, but wait. Kirilenko sat out Wednesday's game with the Los Angeles Clippers due to back spasms and is listed as questionable for Friday's tilt with the Bucks.
Minnesota fell to the Clippers, 101-95 and let it slip away in the fourth quarter. The T-Wolves were up one with the final frame to play and lost for the sixth time in their last seven.
"When they get physical, we have to get physical. We played hard, we just have to finish," Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman said.
Love led the way with 19 points and 12 boards and Pekovic also registered a double-double with 11 and 10.
The Wolves were held under 40 percent from the field and under 28 percent from the 3-point line.
Milwaukee is 4-1 against the Timberwolves in its last five, but 1-3 in its last four in Minnesota.