Pretty Good Lately

Since the All-Star break, the Milwaukee Bucks have three wins in four games over some of the best teams in the league. All of those victories have come at home, however, and now they take to the road, where they've been terrible all season.

The Bucks look to win three consecutive games for the first time in nearly two months when they play the New Jersey Nets Thursday at the Izod Center, where they've lost four straight.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made New Jersey –3.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 197 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 69% of bets for this game have been placed on New Jersey -3.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Michael Redd hit a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer Tuesday to give Milwaukee (22-35) a thrilling 105-102 victory over Cleveland.

The Bucks, who had lost seven of eight before the break, have suddenly gotten back in the Eastern Conference playoff race with wins over Detroit, Denver and the Cavaliers since Feb. 20.

"This league is very much about momentum," Milwaukee coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "Winning in the league is good medicine. It gives you some confidence ... We're riding a little mini-wave here and we need to try to keep it rolling."

The Bucks will be trying to win three in a row for the first time since Jan. 6-9, but it won't be easy for them on the road.

Milwaukee has the sixth-worst road record in the league at 6-24, and has lost nine of its last 10 away from the Bradley Center. The Bucks' only defeat since the break was 127-100 at Detroit on Friday.

Milwaukee lost at New Jersey 87-80 on Jan. 29, and has dropped four straight in the Meadowlands by an average of 12.0 points since a 110-96 victory on Nov. 2, 2005.

The Bucks also suffered a 97-95 home defeat to the Nets on Dec. 29, and have lost seven of their last eight against them overall.

Redd missed Milwaukee's loss at New Jersey (25-32) last month with a left knee strain, and scored 35 points in the home loss to the Nets in December. Redd finished with 25 points on Tuesday after scoring a season-high 42 in Saturday's 115-109 win over the Nuggets.

Mo Williams had a season-high 37 points against Cleveland, and has 38 points and 14 assists in two games against the Nets this season.

New Jersey, which is in the mix for a playoff spot in the East, is 2-2 since trading star point guard Jason Kidd to Dallas in an eight-player deal Feb. 19.

The Nets lost to Orlando 102-92 on Tuesday, snapping a season-high four-game home winning streak. New Jersey led by three points with 6:13 left, but was outscored 24-11 down the stretch.

"It's disappointing to lose," coach Lawrence Frank said. "That six-minute mark is the moment of truth, but defensively we couldn't lock down on their key players and we lost our poise on the offensive end."

The Nets could begin to see a return on the Kidd trade Thursday, as Frank said point guard Devin Harris would be a game-time decision. Harris, the key player acquired by the Nets in that deal, was given the job of directing the offense by Frank on Wednesday after practicing for the first time since last week's trade.

``We really want him to take ownership with this,'' Frank said. ``We want him to feel comfortable with this, be assertive and have the freedom to make some play calls.''

Indications after practice were that Harris, who hasn't played since spraining his left ankle Jan. 27, would come off the bench and replace Marcus Williams if the ankle feels OK.

``Besides running up and down the court, I can pretty much do everything,'' Harris said. ``The wind isn't there because I haven't played in a month. I have to get my stamina back up.''

Richard Jefferson scored 20 points on 6-of-16 shooting against the Magic after averaging 31.3 points and shooting 55.2 percent in his first three games after the break. Jefferson has scored 39 points and shot 16-of-27 in two games versus the Bucks this season.

Vince Carter, who finished with 26 points and eight rebounds Tuesday, is averaging 19.5 points and 8.0 boards against Milwaukee this season.

Williams continued to play well since replacing Kidd in the lineup, with 10 points and eight assists against Orlando. He's averaged 12.0 points and 7.3 assists while making 50.0 percent of his shots from 3-point range (8-of-16) in his last four games.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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