Although the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to struggle, a visit from the Milwaukee Bucks should have them feeling hopeful.
Cleveland will look to snap its three-game losing streak and continue its home mastery over the Bucks when the teams meet Wednesday night.
Since winning three straight Nov. 4-9, the Cavaliers (5-8) have lost five of six, including three in a row. Defense was the issue in Tuesday night's 100-89 loss to Indiana, as Cleveland trailed by 25 at the break and allowed its third consecutive opponent to reach 100 points.
The Cavaliers have surrendered 62.7 first-half points during the three-game skid and coach Byron Scott knows that his team needs to bring a better defensive effort early on.
"We have to understand that we have to come out with a sense of urgency and do that for 48 minutes," Scott said. "This isn't even close to rock bottom. It's a good test for us. This team and this franchise have not had to play through adversity in the last seven years."
Ramon Sessions and Daniel Gibson each scored 15 points off the bench as the Cavaliers starters were limited to a total of 32 points on 13 for 36 from the field.
"This is definitely a loss where we can't let nights like this happen again," Gibson said. "We definitely need to understand that. We have to use nights like tonight so that we never had this feeling again."
Cleveland has won five straight and 13 of its last 14 home meetings with the Bucks (5-8). This, however, is the first meeting between these teams in the post-LeBron James era for the Cavaliers.
Even without James, Cleveland should be able to keep pace with the Bucks, who are shooting an NBA-worst 41.1 percent from the field and are last in points scored with 91.4 per game.
The Bucks are looking to snap a three-game losing streak of their own after they were defeated by Oklahoma City 82-81 on Saturday night as only two players scored in double figures.
Brandon Jennings led the way with 25 points, but struggled with his shot for the second consecutive night, connecting on 8 of 24 from the field.
Jennings, who leads the team with an average of 17.3 points, is shooting 29.7 percent (11 for 37) in his last two games.
"We need to try to turn this thing around," he said.
Andrew Bogut had eight points and 12 rebounds as he continues to deal with back spasms.
The Australian, who averaged 15.9 points last season, has managed 8.0 points over his last five games and his status for this one is unknown.
"We're in a little bit of a hole again, and the only way out of it is to try to win a game," he said.
Bogut put up 19 points and 12 rebounds against the Cavaliers on March 31.
With Bogut at less than 100 percent, Drew Gooden, who spent three-plus seasons with Cleveland, has stepped up his play of late, averaging 17.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in his last four games.
While Milwaukee has had major trouble offensively, it has been very good on the opposite end. The Bucks are tied for the league lead in scoring defense, giving up 91.1 points per game.