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  • With three of their next four on the road and a four-game home losing streak, the Bucks are putting a lot of weight on the game. “This is huge,” center Drew Gooden said. “It wasn’t like we played cakewalk teams, but this is a tough home stretch for us.” The four straight home losses have come to Chicago, Phoenix, Orlando and Miami. Only Phoenix has a sub-.500 record, but the Suns were in the process of winning three straight road games when they played the Bucks. “We were playing very well at home (earlier), and we’ve had some good moments in the games recently. We just haven’t played consistently enough to get the win,” Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. “This is a must-win game. We have to win.”
  • Although Gooden has played well in the absence of Andrew Bogut, Skiles did point out that the Bucks are 7-5 with Bogut and 5-11 without him. “That’s just the nature of our record,” Skiles said. “Everybody’s got to do more. Everybody’s got to get better.” Skiles noted that some of his players out away from the basket are known for taking risks going for steals and that requires a shot-blocking presence down low to protect the basket. “Normally, it’s about a 1 in 10 proposition — if you go for the steal 10 times you’re going to get one. The other nine times something bad is going to happen. Maybe not all nine, but too many times something bad is going to happen.”
  • The Hornets have not won consecutive games since opening the season with two victories. Their 86-80 victory Monday night snapped an eight-game skid and was just their second win in 19 games. In fact, their 23 losses have come in streaks of six, eight and nine games. Obviously, injuries have been a major factor, with leading scorer Eric Gordon, a key part of the Chris Paul trade, missing all but two games thus far with a knee injury. Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, the Hornets’ second- and third-leading scorers will also miss tonight’s game with knee injuries, along with center center Emeka Oakafor. Okafor was listed as day-to-day, but coach Monty Williams said Okafor may be out for a while. “From what I’ve heard it’s one of those weird deals,” Williams said. “I just heard yesterday he’s not going to travel with us and he’ll stay at home.” The Hornets open a six-game road trip tonight.
  • The Hornets signed 6-10 center Solomon Jones to a 10-day contract Wednesday. “He’ll be playing tonight for sure,” Williams said. “We need some length at the basket. He’s a guy we thought about trading for last year when he  was with Indiana.”

Rick Braun

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