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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 22nd (All times eastern)

Cleveland Cavaliers (5-23) at Milwaukee Bucks (14-11), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off a close win in Boston and they'll attempt to build off that victory when they host the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers at the Bradley Center on Saturday.

The Bucks have split their last four games and were able to pull out an overtime victory Friday night in Boston. Monta Ellis scored 27 points, including five in OT, to help Milwaukee escape Beantown with a 99-94 win at TD Garden.

Luc Mbah a Moute added 20 points, while Larry Sanders amassed 17 points and a career-best 20 rebounds to help the Bucks post their third win in four outings against Boston this season. It was the sixth win in eight games for Milwaukee, which enters Saturday's action one game behind Chicago for first place in the Central Division.

Brandon Jennings nearly tallied a triple-double for Milwaukee, which overcome an eight-point deficit to start the fourth quarter -- then squandered a seven- point lead in the final minute of regulation. The point guard finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

"The fact that we showed some resolve was a good sign for us," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said.

The Bucks are 7-5 as the host this season and have won four of their last five tilts at the Bradley Center.

Cleveland, meanwhile, lost its sixth straight game on Friday, dropping a 99-89 home decision to the Indiana Pacers. It was the 11th setback in 12 games for the Cavaliers, who are last in the Central Division with a 5-23 record.

Roy Hibbert had 18 points, while David West tallied 15 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Pacers to victory on Friday.

Kyrie Irving, who is Cleveland's leading scorer with 23.2 points per game, was held to 17 points on 5-of-16 shooting. Irving also had a game-high six turnovers.

"Unless we play as a team at both ends of the floor, we are going to continue to lose," Cavs head coach Byron Scott said.

Cleveland played its second straight game without center Anderson Varejao, who is suffering from a bruised right knee. Varejao will also be held out on Saturday but he could return for Wednesday's game against Washington.

Friday's setback dropped Cleveland's record within the division to 0-8 this year and the club has lost 16 straight to Central Division opponents.

The Cavs are 2-14 this season on the road and have lost their last five away from Cleveland. The Cavaliers were unable to make the trip to Milwaukee on Friday night due to inclement weather and had to wait until Saturday morning to fly out of Cleveland.

Milwaukee is 2-0 against the Cavs this season and has claimed nine straight meetings in this series. Cleveland has dropped six in a row and eight of its last 11 in Milwaukee.

12/22 10:36:53 ET