The Milwaukee Bucks faltered in their attempt to match a season-high win streak and bouncing back from that defeat could prove challenging.
The Bucks would have to end a 13-game road losing streak against New Orleans when they face the resurgent Pelicans on Saturday night.
Milwaukee had won three in a row until a 102-98 loss in Houston on Friday. The Bucks (19-26) nearly rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes but couldn't get closer than two with 6.9 seconds left.
"We kept fighting and hung with them on their runs and kept trying to grind it out. We did give ourselves a chance to win the game. We were just a little too late," said guard Khris Middleton, who tied Greg Monroe for the team scoring lead with 21 points.
The Bucks now will try to win in a city where they haven't since Jan. 27, 2003. The lengthy road losing streak against the Pelicans includes two defeats in Oklahoma City in January 2006 and February 2007.
Milwaukee has also dropped five in a row overall to New Orleans (15-27) and will face a team that's seeking its fifth win in six games.
The Pelicans will also try for a season-high fourth in a row at home after beating Detroit 115-99 on Thursday. New Orleans shot 53.5 percent - its second-best performance this season - and Anthony Davis had 32 points on 13-of-23 shooting.
"We're just playing desperate. That's it," Davis said. "That's how we've got to play from here on out. Like coach said, in a couple weeks we're going to see where our season goes - whether it's just playing it out or every game matters."
Davis has a combined 67 points in the first two of a season-high seven consecutive home games.
"I'm just coming out being aggressive, trying to get the team to fight back and just play hard." he said. "They're doing a great job of finding me. I'm not hesitating anymore. I'm just playing basketball, having fun with it. My teammates see it and they're playing hard. We're all just playing hard, having fun playing together."
Davis had 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting and 12 rebounds in his latest game against the Bucks, an 85-84 home victory March 17. He totaled 72 points while shooting 64.4 percent in his previous two matchups and tied a career with 43 in a 114-103 win in Milwaukee on March 9.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points on 11-of-16 shooting for the Bucks in that home defeat but had a more pedestrian 15 in the visit to New Orleans.
Middleton, averaging 23.6 points in his last five games, had four on 2-of-14 shooting in the most recent road matchup with the Pelicans. He totaled 42 points and made 16 of 28 shots in his prior two meetings.
Monroe is averaging 19.4 points on 54.6 percent shooting and 10.7 rebounds in his last seven games.
This will likely mark the Bucks' last game without coach Jason Kidd on the sidelines. Kidd has missed 16 contests since undergoing surgery on his right hip Dec. 21 but is expected return for Tuesday's home game against Orlando.