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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, January 17th (All times Eastern)

Milwaukee Bucks (19-18) at Phoenix Suns (13-27), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Larry Sanders has been a defensive presence for the Milwaukee Bucks this season and leads the NBA with 3.22 blocks per game.

Sanders' effort has helped the Bucks reach the top in blocks per game with 7.62 and he will try to get his team back in the win column Thursday night against the Phoenix Suns in the desert.

Milwaukee is coming off Tuesday's 104-88 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers. Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant both scored 31 points against the Bucks, who shot a paltry 35.8 percent from the floor and made 7-of-28 3-pointers.

"We missed a lot of shots, but mainly because of their pressure," Bucks interim coach Jim Boylan said. "They played a really good game, a really good defensive game."

Monta Ellis scored 17 points and Beno Udrih chipped in 14 points and seven assists in the loss, Milwaukee's sixth in nine tries. The Bucks entered the Lakers game having won three of four contests.

Sanders finished with six points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against Los Angeles and has swatted a shot in 24 straight games. Brandon Jennings, the Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Jan. 7-13, scored 12 points in the recent loss and has made at least one 3-pointer in 25 straight games. Carlos Delfino had a 26-game run during the 2009-10 season.

The Bucks are 1-1 on a four-game trek that ends Saturday at Portland and 9-9 away from the Bradley Center.

Phoenix has dropped 12 of its last 14 games and suffered a 102-90 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder the last time out on Monday. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 77 points, while Shannon Brown scored 21 points to pace the Suns.

Marcin Gortat notched 19 points and 15 boards for the Suns, who fell to 10-10 as the host this season and are winless in three straight at home. The Suns were coming off a win at Chicago on Saturday, their 2,000th in history.

"I thought we had opportunities that we just kind of let slip on by and it's going to be really tough to beat a team of this quality if you don't take advantage of those situations," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.

Suns guard Goran Dragic, who leads the team with 14.1 ppg, had 11 points in the loss to the Thunder and is probable for tonight because of a sprained left ankle. Suns guard Jared Dudley (wrist) has missed two straight games and is also listed as probable.

Luis Scola had just seven points and five rebounds versus OKC, but is averaging 16.9 points and 7.0 boards in his last 10 contests.

Phoenix will have a break after Thursday's game and will visit Sacramento next Wednesday.

The Suns will face Milwaukee for a second time this season and were handed a 108-99 loss on Jan. 8 in Brew City. The Suns, though, are 22-4 in the past 26 meetings between the foes.

01/17 10:49:00 ET