Game Preview: Celtics at Bucks
The already-reeling Milwaukee Bucks have added another key player to an injured list that seems to be getting longer by the day.
Larry Sanders is questionable for Monday night's home contest against the Boston Celtics as the Bucks look to avoid an 18th defeat in 20 games.
Milwaukee has the NBA's worst record and hasn't won back-to-back games all season. After a rare victory over New York last Monday, the Bucks have dropped two straight, including a 101-95 loss to Houston on Saturday to begin a six-game homestand.
Brandon Knight scored 23 points and Khris Middleton added 20 as Milwaukee's late rally fell short.
"I thought for the most part, we hung in there," coach Larry Drew said. "The first half we really were just trying to make it work after we lost Larry Sanders."
Sanders left in the first quarter after taking an accidental elbow to the head from James Harden. He experienced blurred vision and did not return, and Drew will decide before this game if Sanders can play.
The Bucks already are dealing with a plethora of injuries. Ekpe Udoh has missed the last eight games with a sprained ankle, O.J. Mayo has missed seven straight with an illness and Luke Ridnour has been out three of the last five with a back problem.
Caron Butler's injured ankle has kept him out the last two, and Ersan Ilyasova sat out Saturday with a sore back.
Rookie Nate Wolters took advantage of the extra minutes and finished with a season-high 19 points, hitting 9 of 15 from the field.
"Coach gave me a lot of minutes so I just tried to be aggressive," Wolters said. "I got into a bit of a rhythm."
The Bucks have dropped 19 of 24 at home this season, though one of those victories came against Boston. Knight scored 20 and John Henson had 13 points and 13 boards in a 92-85 win Nov. 30.
Milwaukee hosts New Orleans on Wednesday in its last contest before the All-Star break.
"We've got to win at home. We haven't done a very good job of that this year," Wolters said. "Hopefully we can get a couple wins here going into the All-Star break."
After dropping the first two meetings with the Bucks, the Celtics got 18 points from Jeff Green in a 108-100 victory Dec. 3. Green also scored 18 points Sunday against Dallas, but Boston (18-34) had its three-game winning streak end with a 102-91 home defeat.
Rajon Rondo, who missed each of the first three meetings with the Bucks while recovering from ACL surgery, finished with 15 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who trailed by as many as 24.
"We still kept it close. That was the beauty of it," said Jared Sullinger, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds. "We played hard, but they just got away and the deficit was so big we couldn't dig ourselves out of that hole."
It's unclear if Rondo will play in the second of a back-to-back set, as coach Brad Stevens has given him extra rest in two such situations since he returned Jan. 17.
Rondo also sat out Friday's win over Sacramento for Boston, which has won two of three on the road after dropping 10 straight away from home.