Bucks-Warriors Preview

On the verge of their longest winning streak in two years, the

Milwaukee Bucks appear to have hit their stride.

They could become even more formidable with their new

acquisitions in uniform.

With Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh hoping to suit up versus their

former team, the Bucks kick off a two-game road swing against the

Golden State Warriors on Friday night seeking a fifth consecutive


In an attempt to bolster its postseason push, Milwaukee (19-24)

sent Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson to Golden State (18-22) on

Tuesday in exchange for Ellis, Udoh and Kwame Brown. While Bogut

(fractured ankle) and Brown (chest) are both uncertain to return

this season, the Warriors traded Jackson to San Antonio on Thursday

for Richard Jefferson.

Ellis and Udoh, meanwhile, can’t play for the Bucks until Bogut

completes his physical with the Warriors, and were held out of

Wednesday’s 115-105 win over Cleveland. Despite being short-handed,

Milwaukee was able to pull away behind Drew Gooden’s 15 points, 10

rebounds and 13 assists and a combined 43 points from Ersan

Ilyasova and Mike Dunleavy.

The Bucks’ lone loss in their past six games was a 106-104

defeat to NBA-best Chicago on March 7, and they’ve since won four

in a row to move into a tie with New York for eighth place in the

Eastern Conference. They haven’t won five straight since a six-game

run March 3-14, 2010.

Adding the speedy Ellis and his 21.9 points per game to the mix

could further boost the Bucks’ playoff hopes.

“Hopefully, we might even get a little bit quicker,” coach Scott

Skiles said. “Certainly Monta’s quick – very quick. And hopefully

we’ll continue to kind of play in that style and move the ball

around and cause people problems.”

Udoh can cause problems at the defensive end, ranking among the

league leaders with 1.7 blocks per game.

The Warriors did well in their first game without Ellis, winning

115-89 at Sacramento on Tuesday, but the next night they lost

105-103 to Boston. After Kevin Garnett hit the go-ahead jumper with

5.1 seconds remaining, Nate Robinson missed a 3-point attempt with

a second left.

Robinson made his second consecutive start in place of Stephen

Curry (sprained ankle), finishing with 20 points and a season-high

11 assists. Rookie Klay Thompson scored a season-best 26 and is

expected to remain in the starting five with Ellis no longer


“We can’t give up easy buckets because we don’t have Monta to

bail us out and score 40 a game,” said Thompson, averaging 16.3

points over the last six games. “We just have to band together. We

have done a great job at that the past two games and we have to do

that Friday as well.”

While Golden State’s three-game win streak came to an end

Wednesday, coach Mark Jackson was pleased with his team’s effort.

The Warriors shot 52.6 percent from the field and outscored the

Celtics 60-42 in the paint.

“I could not be more satisfied with the energy, the effort, the

commitment from my guys,” Jackson said. “Now, we’re not jumping up

and down, but we certainly are not discouraged by what took place

tonight. This is the type of performance to build on.”

His team has played well on both ends of the court in the past

four games, shooting a combined 52.1 percent from the field and

holding opponents to an average of 93.5 points.

The Warriors had dropped four straight in this series before

posting a 100-94 win Feb. 3, 2011, in the most recent meeting.

Curry is expected to be held out for the sixth time in 11