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Bucks battle Blazers in Rip City

Mar 20, 2012 - 2:41 PM (Sports Network) - The red-hot Milwaukee Bucks take their playoff push to Rip City on Tuesday to battle Kaleb Canales and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Bucks, who are one-half game behind New York for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, won their fifth straight contest in Oakland last Friday when Monta Ellis scored 18 points against his former team, leading Milwaukee to a 120-98 rout of the Golden State Warriors.

Ellis, who came over from Golden State in a five-player trade last week, was on the court for almost 39 minutes in his Bucks debut, adding four rebounds, four assists and three steals.

He was one of six Milwaukee players who scored in double digits as the Bucks moved the ball with ease, piling up 33 assists and leading wire-to-wire with forward Ersan Ilyasova out of the lineup with a bronchial condition. They won their fifth straight game and set season-highs in number of points and rebounds (54).

Luc Mbah a Moute had career-highs of 22 points and 17 rebounds while Mike Dunleavy scored 24 points and Drew Gooden (16), Carlos Delfino (15) and Brandon Jennings (13) also scored in double digits.

The Bucks also got Ekpe Udoh, who was scoreless in 18-plus minutes, in the trade that landed them Ellis and injured center Kwame Brown from the Warriors.

Milwaukee head coach Scott Skiles talked about the "human element" of such a trade and was happy to see the new players adjust so quickly after just a few shootarounds and practices with the team.

"It's been a heck of a couple days," said Skiles.

Golden State got injured center Andrew Bogut and swingman Stephen Jackson in the deal, then dealt Jackson to the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.

Portland lost for the first time under interim coach Canales, who replaced Nate McMillan last week, by dropping a 111-95 decision in Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Jamal Crawford paced the Blazers with 23 points. Raymond Felton had 19, Wesley Matthews netted 16 and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 15 and six rebounds for Portland, which had defeated the Bulls last Friday in Canales' debut.

Things were much different in OKC and the Western Conference-leading Thunder led from start to finish.

"They were ready for us," said Aldridge. "They came out playing fast. They don't even play a set offense so it's hard to really scout them. They are just making reads, guys are just playing."

Portland has won three in a row and eight if its past nine against the Bucks.