NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 27th (All times eastern)
Milwaukee Bucks (28-32) at New Orleans Hornets (34-22), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The New Orleans Hornets vie for their longest winning streak in more than a month when the playoff contenders take on the visiting Milwaukee Bucks this evening.
With All-Star point guard Chris Paul missing some time with a groin strain and center Tyson Chandler out for an extended period due to a sprained ankle, the Hornets lost eight times during a 12-game stretch between January 30-February 21. New Orleans has posted two straight wins since that tailspin, following up Monday's road decision over hapless Sacramento with a 90-87 triumph over sputtering Detroit on Wednesday.
David West led the way with 30 points and 10 rebounds, while both Paul and Chandler also had double-doubles for the Hornets. Paul finished the night with 20 points and 13 assists, while Chandler put up 10 points and 17 rebounds in his second game back from the injury.
New Orleans, which is currently tied with Utah for sixth place in the Western Conference and just a half-game back of Portland for the No. 5 seed, has not won three straight contests since January 17-21.
Milwaukee enters the Big Easy as the eighth seed in the tightly-bunched Eastern Conference, but only holds a one-game edge on Chicago and New Jersey for that spot. The Bucks have also lost three of their last four games and are coming off a lopsided defeat at Dallas on Wednesday.
The Mavericks built a commanding 24-point halftime lead in their 116-96 victory over Milwaukee, in which Charlie Villanueva paced the Bucks with 25 points.
Charlie Bell added 19 points off the bench for Milwaukee, which fell to 11-21 on the road for the season after the Dallas game.
While the Bucks have struggled as a team lately, Villanueva has been putting up impressive numbers. The fourth-year pro has averaged 29 points over his last three outings and poured in a season-high 36 to lead Milwaukee to a 120-117 win over Northwest Division leader Denver on Sunday. He has recorded double-figure points in 17 straight games.
Tonight's matchup marks the first of two meetings between these teams in 2008-09. New Orleans swept last year's home-and-home series and has defeated the Bucks five straight times. In addition, Milwaukee has lost seven in a row as the visitor to the Hornets and hasn't won in New Orleans since January 27, 2003.
The Hornets sport a 20-9 home record this season and have won four of their five most recent tests at New Orleans Arena.
02/27 10:34:20 ET