Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 1/5/12
By JEFF MEZYDLO STATS Senior Writer Milwaukee has fared well in Sacramento in recent years. Maintaining that success even against a struggling Kings team, however, could be a major challenge this time around for the short-handed and offensively challenged Bucks. Expected to again be without three key players, the Bucks will try to extend their road winning streak over the Kings to four Thursday night. Milwaukee (2-3) averaged 98.3 points while winning three of its first four games of 2011-12, but has made just 36.1 percent of its shots and failed to score more than 86 in losses at Denver and Utah to open a five-game western trip. Without star Andrew Bogut (personal reasons), swingman Mike Dunleavy Jr. (groin) and former King Beno Udrih (shoulder), the Bucks shot a paltry 30.5 percent from the field - including 2 of 21 from 3-point range - in an 85-73 loss to the Jazz on Tuesday. "It's tough," said forward Drew Gooden, the lone bright spot with 24 points and 12 rebounds. "We can't win scoring 70-80 points. We've got to be in the high 90s to beat these teams. That comes with executing the offense." Milwaukee has averaged 109.0 points during its three-game winning streak at Sacramento that follows a four-game road skid to the Kings. However, with Bogut (14.3 points per game, 10.0 rebounds per game), Dunleavy (10.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Udrih (9.0 ppg) all likely to miss this season's annual visit, the Bucks' run in Sacramento could be in jeopardy. They certainly need more production from guard Brandon Jennings, who has totaled 20 points in the last two games while shooting 9 of 35 overall and 0 for 11 from 3-point range. He averaged 22.7 on 46.0 percent shooting in the season's first three contests. Jennings went 8 of 13 from beyond the arc and finished with 35 points in his only previous game at Sacramento, a 114-108 double-overtime victory March 19, 2010. The Kings (2-5) hope they are able to take advantage of the injury-riddled Bucks and avoid a third consecutive loss. Embattled second-year forward DeMarcus Cousins scored 26 points off the bench Wednesday but Sacramento shot 32.3 percent in a 110-83 loss at Memphis. Sacramento, which went 2 of 21 from 3-point range, has averaged 90.7 points while losing five of six since opening with a 100-91 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 26. "That was a kick in our teeth. You can't hide from it," Kings coach Paul Westphal said of his team's performance against the Grizzlies. "I still think we have the makings of a good basketball team and I believe we will bounce back." Playing for the second time since returning from a one-game banishment for allegedly asking to be traded, Cousins scored a season high Wednesday after totaling 13 points in his previous two games. Cousins, who denied making the trade demand, had just 15 points in two games against the Bucks last season. Averaging a team-leading 18.3 points, Marcus Thornton scored 23 for the Kings on Wednesday. He had 27 in a 97-90 win at Milwaukee on March 23.
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