The Milwaukee Bucks take their three-game winning streak on the road Friday night when they visit Cleveland to take on their Central Division-rival Cavaliers.
The Bucks haven't lost since Dec. 5 in San Antonio. They've picked up two home wins against lesser opponents during this streak (Charlotte Bobcats and Sacramento Kings), but mixed in a quality road victory against the Brooklyn Nets.
Against the Kings on Wednesday, the Bucks were without key regulars Mike Dunleavy, who missed the game with a bruised left knee, Tobias Harris, who is out with a right elbow injury, and Larry Sanders, the NBA's leading shot- blocker, who sat out Wednesday due to illness.
Monta Ellis played a great game with 17 points and 11 assists. Ersan Ilyasova also had a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds off the bench. Brandon Jennings netted 17 and Luc Mbah a Moute scored 17 as a starter.
The Bucks shot 40.6 percent from the field against Sacramento and only 35.3 percent from the 3-point line. Luckily, the Kings only managed to shoot 37.2 percent and went a disastrous 3-for-19 from long distance.
"It wasn't a well-played game by either team. Not sending this one to the Hall of Fame," quipped Bucks coach Scott Skiles. "You have to win those. At some point in the game, you've got to make enough plays to win the game and we did."
The Bucks, based on the spectacular ability of Sanders, lead the NBA in blocked shots and rank sixth in steals.
The Cavaliers weren't able to parlay their success against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday into a win in Indiana on Wednesday. The Cavs fell 96-81 in Indiana in a putrid second-half performance.
The Cavs took a six-point lead into the locker room and posted an impressive 58 points. They got beat by 16 in the third quarter and only managed 23 points in the second half.
"I don't think it was so much a tale of halves. I think from about the four- or three-minute mark of the second quarter everything changed from that point on," said coach Byron Scott. "And we weren't here, it's as simple as that. Once Indiana became more aggressive and tried to take the ball out of Kyrie's (Irving) hands, we caved in to it, and we just stopped playing. And I told the team that after the game."
Irving, who returned on Tuesday after a broken finger, shot 4-for-12 for nine points. It was a slow night for a lot of Cavs' starters. Alonzo Gee scored one point in slightly over 30 minutes. Anderson Varejao had the rebounding numbers with 12, but he scored only four points.
The Bucks have won eight straight against the Cavaliers, including a 105-102 victory on Nov. 3 in Milwaukee. On that night, the Bucks bench contributed 57 points and the Bucks, who are 5-5 on the road this season, shot 52 percent from the floor.