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By PAUL DIGIACOMO
Posted Jan 23 2014 8:43PM
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.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Video Highlights and Recap
Varejao, Irving lead Cavaliers past Bucks 93-78
Posted Jan 24 2014 10:19PM
CLEVELAND (AP) Anderson Varejao scored 16 points and Kyrie Irving had 10 points and 10 assists, leading lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 93-78 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.
Varejao scored eight points to spark a 12-2 run that gave Cleveland a 64-46 lead late in the third quarter. Irving, named an All-Star starter for the first time Thursday, had seven assists in the second half.
Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 13 points. Brandon Knight, who leads the Bucks with a 15.9 average, was held to eight points and went 4 of 12 from the field.
The Bucks (8-34) have the worst record in the league and have lost 10 of 11.
Tristan Thomnpson scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds while Dion Waiters added 13 points for Cleveland. The Cavaliers lost the first two games of a five-game homestand after going 3-2 on a West Coast trip.Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited