The Milwaukee Bucks finish a grueling stretch against two of the NBA's top
scorers Friday night when they look to extend their home winning streak to eight games in a matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Milwaukee (16-16) settled for a split of a home-and-home series with Washington after a 108-105 loss on Wednesday. The Bucks were beaten when Wizards star Gilbert Arenas hit a 3-pointer 32 feet from the basket in the closing seconds.

Arenas averaged 25.5 points in the two games against Milwaukee, which will face James for the second time in eight days Friday. The Cleveland star scored 32 points last Friday in a 109-99 victory to outduel Michael Redd, who had 24 points.

Arenas is third in the NBA in scoring with 30.3 points per game, Redd is fifth at 27.8 and James is seventh at 27.2.

The Cavaliers (19-12) have won four straight against the Bucks, although three of those meetings have been at home. Cleveland ended a seven-game slide at the Bradley Center with a 91-84 victory on Jan. 4, 2006.

James is averaging 31.5 points in six career games at Milwaukee, including a 52-point performance - the second highest of his career - in a 111-106 loss on Dec. 10, 2005.

Cleveland is seeking to win consecutive road games for the first time all season. It probably won't be easy since Milwaukee is on its longest home winning streak since a 10-game run from Dec. 10, 2003-Jan. 15, 2004.

The Cavaliers won for the fifth time in six games Wednesday, 107-104 at Boston. James scored 32 points, including an 80-footer that closed the third quarter and gave Cleveland a six-point lead.

"Well, I knew it had a chance," James said. "Everyday after practice, me and Drew (Gooden), we shoot trick shots like that and today was one of those days that I got one off and it went in."

James received plenty of help from Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who notched his eighth double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Ilgauskas averaged only 11.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in his previous four games.

"Even in the beginning of the year when he wasn't getting it, I thought "Z" had some solid defensive games for us," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "His numbers weren't great across the board on the offensive end, but I thought he was a presence in the middle with his length."

Bucks point guard Mo Williams has played well during the home winning streak, averaging 19.7 points with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3-to-1.

Milwaukee is just 1-5 against Central Division teams this season, matching Charlotte for the worst record of any Eastern Conference team within its division.

Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva missed Wednesday's game with shoulder tendinitis and is listed as day-to-day. He has appeared in just 20 games this season, averaging 12.7 points and 6.1 rebounds.


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