The Milwaukee Bucks haven't enjoyed much success the past two weeks against playoff-caliber opponents. A matchup with the New Jersey Nets could produce different results.
The Bucks go for their sixth consecutive victory over the Nets on Saturday night when New Jersey tries to build some momentum before heading west.
With victories against Orlando, the Los Angeles Lakers and two versus Dallas since Dec. 4, Milwaukee (13-21) has shown that it can compete with the league's top teams. The Bucks, though, have dropped five of six, falling to Atlanta, Chicago, the Magic and twice to Miami during that stretch following Friday's 101-95 overtime loss to the Heat.
Coach Scott Skiles' team last dropped four straight during a five-game skid from Nov. 16-26.
Milwaukee, which is among the league leaders in scoring defense at 93.1 per game, could fare better against the Nets (10-26), who are coming off one of their worst offensive performances of the season in Friday's 97-77 loss at Washington.
New Jersey missed 12 of its first 13 shots and trailed by 17 after 12 minutes. Devin Harris was 1 for 7 with four points while Sasha Vujacic missed 13 of 14 from the field in the Nets' third-worst shooting effort of the season at 34.6 percent.
"This was a game where we, I think, were probably two for about 15 on wide-open shots that weren't even contested," coach Avery Johnson said. "Some of those shots, they didn't have anybody between us here in Washington and East Rutherford, New Jersey, and we still missed them."
While the Nets have won three of four at home after dropping eight of 10 at Prudential Center, the Bucks have dominated this matchup in the Garden State, winning their last three there by an average of 23.7 points.
Another big effort from former Net Chris Douglas-Roberts and Andrew Bogut could produce another lopsided Milwaukee victory.
Douglas-Roberts, acquired from the Nets in the offseason for a second-round pick, scored a season-high 30 points on Friday - one off his career high - but missed two free throws with 26 seconds left in regulation with the Bucks down by two.
"We had our chances, we just didn't take them," Bogut said after scoring 12 points with a career-best 27 rebounds.
Bogut averaged 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in three games against New Jersey in 2009-10, when the Bucks won all four matchups to sweep the season series for the first time since 2000-01.
While the Bucks have played the last nine games without injured starting point guard Brandon Jennings, the Nets could be without Harris after he strained his right quad in the second quarter Friday and played just 20 minutes.
Milwaukee dropped 11 of 13 to New Jersey prior to its current winning streak in this matchup.