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)

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)

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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 ]

Audio

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. 

 

Game Notes

1st Qtr

  • Sam Smith AND Marc Stein are here. That means Nash will be trade to the Bulls for Ronnie Brewer, right?
  • Robin beat Ilysova for the tip. That's a good sign early.
  • Knowing chuckle from crowd as Nash hits a shot while lying on this back after being tripped.
  • And there's Violet Palmer...blind as a bat.
  • Suns pounding the ball inside taking advantage of opponent's lack of size. I can't tell you how many years I've waited to type that sentence.
  • Grant Hill gets T'd up for arguing the ball got tipped - which is the call he got from the ref on the baseline.
  • How long before Gentry goes small to match the Bucks? I anticipate a lot of Frye/Warrick tonight.
  • There's a crowd of Polish fans behind me just waiting to go nuts. They have red and white flags, signs, etc.
  • Nash covered by three guys and still finds Gortat in front of the rim.
  • Frye with a nice post up on Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
  • It took me more time to spell his name than for Frye to make this move and score.
  • Bucks are the worst three-point shooting team in the league. Zone it up, baby. Although right now that straight up D is working just fine. 23-15.
  • Seeing Earl Boykins on the court always surprises me. Tiny.
  • 25-17

2nd Qtr

  • Zabian vs Boykins. NBA's finest!
  • Oh, Violet Palmer...
  • MP robbed Dowdell of an assist on a pretty pass by turning down the layup to hand it off to Gortat who was stripped.
  • Warrick joins the post-fest, scoring on Ersan.
  • Warrick with the ball at the elbow. Gortat at the other elbow. Gortat gets a back screen and rolls to the rim for a lob from Hak. Nice play...to bad Marcin blew the finish.
  • Dowdell did a great job breaking that press. Dude does not panic.
  • Suns up 44-31...they've let off the gas just a little bit....but Vince Carter is coming back in to light a fire under some ass.
  • Dudley on a 4-0 run since Carter came back in. See.
  • Jennings getting anywhere he wants but can't finish. Looks rusty. He's probably rusty after missing several weeks.
  • 6-0 run since Carter came back in.
  • Garret Temple in now. The Suns have so many mismatches on the floor, they can't decide where to go.
  • 8-0 run post Carter insertion.
  • 52-31

3rd Qtr

  • Robin Lopez now stealing rebounds from his teammates. His learning how this works.
  • 4th foul for Robin. That's not how you stay on the court, buddy.
  • Great defense by Vince Carter! Yup, that's right.
  • Suns getting sloppy now. Lead down to 62-43.
  • Channing Frye does something other than shoot a set shot. It happened. I saw it.
  • Jennings should be done for the night. At this minutes limit. Boykins in.
  • CDR is completely out of control and clueless beyond just putting the ball on the deck and moving towards the rim. That's not going to get it done at this level...even against the Suns.
  • Steve Nash = brilliant. The end.
  • These Polish fans behind me aren't nearly as rowdy as I thought they would be. No chants. Little cheering. Kind of lame, really.
  • Dowdell in. Suns up 70-53. That should be it for Nash tonight.
  • Brockman rocking the big bear, shaved heard. Not a good look for anyone.
  • 71-53.

4th Qtr

  • Now, let's see if the Suns can put this game away.
  • Nope. Gentry forced to call a time out after 8-0 Bucks run to start 4th. Throws his arms up in the air as if to say he really cares.
  • Why is Mark Asher wearing a taxi driver hat?
  • 71-58, 10:50 left.
  • This is a game that Goran Dragic could really dominate...if he had kept his feet off broken glass.
  • And another time out for Gentry. 74-65, 8:32 left.
  • Nash back in. Fun stuff.
  • Boykins simply refused to be screened by Gortat. Pretty cool. Guessing you have to be a tough mofo to play in the NBA at his size.
  • 8-2 run since Nash came back in. Time out Bucks. 5:08.
  • Dudley's defender fell down and he didn't notice so he continued is shoulder fake post move and took a turn around fade away and missed.
  • 84-69, 2:50. Safe, right?


DON'T make this a game!


Before the big injury, of course. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

More photos » Jim Prisching - AP

Before the big injury, of course. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)

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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:

Phoenix Suns Hope To Continue Domination Of Milwaukee Bucks At Home - SB Nation AZ

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.com

Even 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 ]

Injury Update

 

  • Bogut tried to warm up his knee (bone bruise) but ended up on the inactive list.
  • Jennings is still just coming back from foot surgery and is on a strict 24-minute limit but will start. His backup is Garrettt Temple or Earl Boykins.
  • Salmons wasn't expected to play but Skiles said he probably will go even though he's not in the starting lineup.
  • Dooling probably won't go due to flu.
  • Drew Gooden is officially out several weeks.
So basically, the Bucks have Jon Brockman as their biggest play and will start Ilysova at the five. Robin and Gortat should dominate. Delfino will also either guard either Carter or Hill so just like last game against Belineli, the Suns will have an advantage in the post there. 

The Suns can't afford to lose this game to this small, depleted team.


Phoenix Suns 92, Milwaukee Bucks 77 Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks could follow one of a few recent trends for the Phoenix Suns. It could be another loss to a losing team,...

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Upon further review, the Suns’ defensive lockdown of the Boston Celtics Friday night was the team’s best defensive effort of the Steve Nash Era, according to research done by ESPN Stats...

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