More photos » Matt York - AP
7 days ago: Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings (3) drives against Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Thank you, Milwaukee Bucks. I mean you, Ilyasova. And you, John Salmons. And you as well, Brandon Jennings. It's possible that these guys had the worst games of their careers, in terms of shooting.
The Bucks without Andrew Bogut are a poor team, that's made even worse because they've had no opportunity to practice without him. As Eddie Johnson said toward the end of a 31-point first half, "I don't know what offense they're running, but they haven't run it yet."
The Bucks as a team posted their worst shooting percentage of the season (31.3% for the game). And the Phoenix Suns, in turn, set a new season-low in shooting percentage allowed. This is because the Bucks attempted very few of their 90 shots in the paint all night. Why? Because they were blocked 11 times vs. only 9 made baskets. Ouch.
Again, thank you Milwaukee.
But for the Suns, no good game is worthy unless there's some bad news mixed in with it.
Steve Nash left the game limping and grimacing with about a minute left. Given how many dings Nash incurs throughout the season, it's not likely to sideline him for any period of time. But my guess is that he pulled something. We won't hear about it until practice tomorrow at the earliest, after some treatment. Let's just hope it's a mere ding.
Nash had 9 points and 13 assists for the night, most of that by middle of the 3rd. At halftime the Bucks adjusted to the Suns' pick-n-roll, stymying the Nash/Gortat combo with an extra defender and a couple more strategically-placed thumbs on Gortat's hands (or something equally sinister, I'm sure). Most of the time, the Suns can crush an opponent that puts 3 guys on the 2-man p-n-r. But alas, the Suns shooters stopped making any baskets.
Marcin Gortat was really good in the first half, and merely solid in the second. He was anticipating and rolling with Nash like they've been together for years, but then seemed to let his mind wander in the second half when the Suns were up more than 20 points. At the end, he tallied 19 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Channing Frye was solid as well with 14, 13 and 3.
The Suns corralled 54 rebounds in total. It helps when you're playing against shorter skinnier guys, but then I'm not sure what Robin Lopez' poor showing.
Both teams seemed ready to call it a night by 3 minutes into the second half, yet the Suns out-daydreamed the Bucks long enough to give little Earl Boykins a jolt of hope.
Luckily, the starters finished the game the right way this time.
Bring on OKC.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 02/02/11 10:03 PM MST ]
Phoenix Suns Lock Down Depleted Milwaukee Bucks, 92-77 - SB Nation Arizona
Jared Dudley said that Marcin was a little passive in the block and they are looking for him to score or draw double teams. Gortat explained why he struggled against the Bucks defenders.
"I was trying to battle over their two undersized big mans. I've got to tell you, for me it's really uncomfortable to play against undersized big men. Their leverage is lower than mine and it's harder to push them and both of these guys have a lot of energy so it was tough game for me," Gortat said.
More photos » Jim Prisching - AP
Before the big injury, of course. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
My record on game coverage this season is a putrid 3-11. So, I figure the less I say the better.
Read some of these other good previews instead:
The Phoenix Suns have OWNED the Milwaukee Bucks in Phoenix. 22-straight home wins which is the NBA's second-longest active streak. The last Bucks' win in Phoenix came on February 21, 1987 but that's really nothing more than a fluke. It's not as if both teams haven't changed over the years so in the end... irrelevant coincidence.
Game Preview: Huge Suns Streak On Line - azcentral.comEven with two big wins against Boston and New Orleans, the Suns have a bigger win streak on the line of 22 in a row. That's how many consecutive times Milwaukee has come to Phoenix and lost to the Suns. It is the second longest home win streak against one opponent in the NBA to San Antonio's 25-game streak against Golden State.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 02/02/11 6:31 PM MST ]