Tonight in the NBA: Bucks look to increase lead over Sixers

Tonight in the NBA: Bucks look to increase lead over Sixers
February 27, 2013, 1:15 pm
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The Sixers are off tonight after a troubling loss on Tuesday to the Magic (see story).

All five of Orlando’s starters finished in double figures, while Doug Collins finished the night by ripping his team in a postgame press conference (see story).

Ten games are on the NBA schedule tonight, and here is a look at a few of the notables:

Bucks at Rockets, 8 p.m.
The Bucks put even more distance between themselves and the ninth-place Sixers last night. The Sixers fell to the Magic, but Milwaukee (27-28) took care of business in Dallas. Monta Ellis’ 22 points led the Bucks to a 95-90 victory over the Mavericks and helped snap a three-game losing skid.

Now, with a five-game lead over the Sixers, Milwaukee looks to win back-to-back games for the first time since late January.

The Rockets (31-27) failed to extend their modest win streak to three games on Saturday against the Wizards. Houston blew a 17-point lead and fell, 105-103, to Washington. James Harden had 27 points to lead all scorers, and Chandler Parsons added 24, but the Wizards hit on 51.3 percent of their shots and 43.8 percent of their threes.

In their only prior meeting this season, the Rockets pulled away from the Bucks in the fourth quarter on their way to a 115-101 victory. Harden had a game-high 29 points, but Bucks center Larry Sanders had just four points and four rebounds. The Houston front line will go up against a much-improved Sanders tonight. He has recorded at least 12 points and 13 rebounds in each of his last three games.

Raptors at Cavaliers, 7 p.m.
The once red-hot Raptors, who had won five games in a row, have suddenly cooled off and lost two of their last three. Toronto’s (23-34) offense has been the reason for its recent tough stretch. During its five game win streak, Toronto averaged 99.8 points, but in the last three contests it has scored just 88.7 per game.

In Monday’s 90-84 loss to Washington, the Raptors managed just 32 first-half points and shot a lowly 36.7 percent from the floor for the game. Rudy Gay had just seven points on 1-for-11 shooting in 42 minutes of action.

Cleveland (19-38) has won three of its last four, including Tuesday’s 101-98 victory over the Bulls without Kyrie Irving. Rookie Dion Waiters stepped up in Irving’s absence with 25 points, his second game in a row with 25 or more.

Toronto and Cleveland have split the season series so far, 1-1. In the most recent matchup on Jan. 26, Irving drilled a three with 0.7 seconds left in regulation to hand the Cavaliers the 99-98 win. Irving is averaging 27.5 points against the Raptors this season, but the Cavs could be without his services tonight due to a hyper-extended knee.

Warriors at Knicks, 8 p.m.

The Knicks snapped a four-game losing skid when they returned home on Sunday. New York (33-20) ended the visiting Sixers’ hopes of a comeback and hung on for a 99-93 win. Amar'e Stoudemire had his best game of the season by far, going 9 for 10 from the floor for 22 points. A victory would secure a winning record in the month of February for New York, despite the team's inconsistency.

Golden State (33-24) had its three-game win streak snapped last night in Indiana with a 108-97 loss to the Pacers. Stephen Curry exploded with 38 points and then exploded on Pacers center Roy Hibbert. Curry was handed one of the game’s six technical fouls after he was involved in a fight with Hibbert that nearly spilled into the crowd.

The Warriors have struggled on the road lately, and will go up against a Knicks team that has thrived on their home floor. Golden State is 1-6 in its last seven road tilts, and New York boasts a 20-8 home record on the season.

This is the first meeting between New York and Golden State this season. The Warriors have owned the Knicks in recent years, however, winning four of the last five matchups.

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