FREE CHILLY! (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Tonight's game in Milwaukee was a tale of two-halves... well - at least is was from our starters who started the game flat, cold, and downright ugly. 

What began as a back and forth game with ugly turnovers by the Suns and easy transition buckets for the Bucks, ended in a Suns victory as Phoenix rode an amazing 19-0 run in the third quarter from the bench the starters who turned around in the 2nd half after trailing by 3 and played a great game defeating the Bucks by 24 points.

Mickael Pietrus stepped in for the Injured Vince Carter and played extremely well finishing with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists.  Channing Frye also netted 20 points (5-8 from downtown), 9 rebounds and 2 steals.

After a rough loss in Boston in Tuesday the Suns stepped up tonight in a must-win game and took care of business.

Let's break it down a little more after the jump.


Final - 3.4.2011 1 2 3 4 Total
Phoenix Suns 22 23 31 26 102
Milwaukee Bucks 26 22 15 25 88

Complete Coverage >


Channing Frye Has Tigers Blood

In this game I mentioned how the starters came out very cold and without a lot of energy, well, everyone but Channing Frye - he has Tigers Blood. In 36 minutes he scored 20 points and had 9 rebounds and he was the work-horse that carried the Suns in the first half and continued his roll as the Suns built separation in the second half.  What gets Frye even more plane-cookie points in my book is that he's doing this after coming off of a game where he was absolutely abused by Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Boston.  It was also a game in which Frye suffered a mild concussion, he missed practice yesterday but tonight he came to the game ready to work and dialed in to shoot.  I think we all know of another player who's losing even more plane-cookie points (though that won't stop him from eating multiple on the ride to OKC) in my book because though he too suffered a mild concussion.. he watched the game from the locker room.

(Disclaimer:  I'm not trying to make light of head injuries... but in my book Vince has a reputation of embellishing nicks and bruises.  Channing Frye now has a reputation as A MAN)

Despite hitting a barrage of 3's, the most impressive basket of the night for Frye was his offensive rebound that he slammed home on the fly - a thing of beauty.

MP Has Tigers Blood

Man - what impresses me the most about MP's game tonight besides his 20 points and 8 rebounds was his activity defensively, he was everywhere!  He was poking balls away,  contesting everything, his weak side help as well as his slashing rebounds were awesome and he was flying in from the wing to grab boards all game. 

Pietrus absolutely abused smaller guards down in the post in the second half and was feeling it (I think he's always feeling it regardless of if he's making it or not..) from behind the arc - we even heard yet another... tiger scream when he made a mistake and threw a pass into the back of an oblivious Marcin Gortat.  That tells me he's engaged and passionate about making the right plays.  I didn't miss Vince Carter one bit and that's probably not surprise since you already know I'm not a fan. 

What's Wrong With Steve Nash?

Nash came out of the game with 4:36 left in the first quarter, that's very early... is he tired?  Is he hurt?  Is he just in a slump? Is it really just that he had 5 turnovers and 2 fouls in just under 7 minutes of play? Definitely not a good start to tonight's game for Nash but I don't buy that story.  Something is wrong with Steve, maybe he's got a small nagging injury.  A strained oblique again, maybe his back, maybe the groin... who knows but I'm willing to start a conspiracy theory that he's hurt or in a dark place mentally or whatnot, at least he has been since the start of this road trip.

In tonight's game Steve had 7 of the team's 8 turnovers they were sporting like a haematoma at the half.  Though he turned his game around in the second half without a turnover and finished with 8 points and a big 13 assists.  He's still finding guys and getting the job done in that department.. but on this road trip something is definitely wrong with his shot. Here's how his shooting has been,

@Toronto - 2/12 (.167), 0-3 from 3

@Indiana - 5/14 (.357), 0-4 from 3

@New Jersey - 3/13 (.231), 0-3 from 3

@Boston - 3/7 (.429), 1-3 from 3

@Milwaukee - 3/6 (.500), 1-1 from 3

Sure his numbers were better in the last two games but look...  7 and 6 shot attempts.  For the trip he's shooting just 33% from the field and a paltry 27% from 3-point range.  For Steve Nash, a career 49% and 43% shooter... that is bad.

He's also coming off his worst 3-point shooting month of his career in February where he shot just 30%. 

So what do you think is wrong?

GAME NOTES

I wrote a few notes while watching - these are some things I observed that I haven't already highlighted above.  Let me know what you think.

  • Robin Lopez continually stops on the pick and roll and elects to take short and flat jumpers - sometimes fading away.  Is he taking notes from Vince Carter?  Regardless, it seems to me like he's rushing his offense today.               
  • Starters opening the game really sluggish both offensively and defensively ... again.  Especially in the paint on the defensive end.
  • At this point we are 4 minutes and 20 seconds into the game and the Bucks already have 4 Offensive Rebounds = NO BUENO. 
  • The Suns have 8 turnovers at halftime.. 7 from Steve Nash (5 steals from C.Delfino, he's got Steve's number tonight)
  • Earl Barron who has a career .371 FG% and shot a .286 in his last outing.... is 2-2 shooting 100% at the half... WHAT?? (He finished the game 2-4... and that's still disappointing)
  • While the Starters were in – everything was from a distance.  We started the game with 12 points – on 4 made 3-point shots.  That’s great that we shoot the three well, but I’m talking about EVERYTHING was from the perimeter.  The second unit came in and did a much better job of playing both from the perimeter and in the paint and drawing fouls.

  • 19 to 0 run in the 3rd quarter from the bench the starters – GOOD GOOD GOOD especially because not everything is from a distance, they did a better job of mixing it up like the bench did in the first half.

  • Josh Childress, Siler, and Z got some game time - tonight is a good night!
  • Aaron Brooks is a great ball-handler.  Pause.
  • Though Corey Maggette is probably the buff-est dude in the NBA... he's pretty good at flopping and making it look like he's really weak though.
  • Earl Boykins has great touch - between he and Jennings, I think I've seen the most straight lane floaters I've ever seen in a single game.
  • ooooh Jennings had a big night with 16 points right?  Wrong, he jacked up 17 shots hitting 5, 29%... ouch.
  • Grant Hill quietly had a great BAMF night - 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists,  2 steals.  BAM.

That's All Folks

In conclusion - the Suns did what they needed to do and got some garbage time for Silo as well.  That's a good game and a job well done.  This is really a fun road trip. 

Time to travel to OKC and take on the Perkins-less and Robinson-less Thunder.  It won't be an easy game... but I'll let the next bro tell you all about that game in the upcoming preview! 

Night amigos!

P.s. - Check out the losers site - sometimes its fun

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"I WILL EAT YOUR PASSES ESTEVE NASH!" (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)






We are lucky it is only a 3 points game...  Let's keep the ball rolling homies - time to take the lead and build separation, the Bucks have struggled in the second half of games and especially in the 4th quarter, time to man up!


IT'S MP TIME!!!  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)



 

The final word is that Vince Carter is definitely out, he suffered a mild concussion (not just a mouth laceration as reported) - he woke up 'woozy' this morning and will not play. Mickael Pietrus will start in his place and there is a possibility that Josh Childress gets some playing time tonight. 

Channing Frye also was diagnosed with a mild concussion and was held out of yesterday's practice.  He is expected to start and play tonight.

Check out Seth's write-up over at the motherbase.


Phoenix Suns 102, Milwaukee Bucks 88 Both the Suns and the Bucks are on the outside looking in on the playoff race. Phoenix is ninth in the west, a game and a half out of eight, while the Bucks are...

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"Come on bro - they picked a fight with a warlock"  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Let's get one thing straight, the Phoenix Suns - they are #Winning!

Despite a good, bad, and ugly loss all wrapped in Tuesday's game against the vengeful Boston Celtics, the Phoenix Suns are in Milwaukee to play the Bucks riding a well timed surge.  The Suns are 4-1 (.800) since the All-Star break, 11-4 (.733) in their last 15 games, they have won 5 of their last 6 road games,  and they have won 7 of their last 10 games against teams with winning records.  

Tuesday's loss in Boston was 'good' because of what the bench accomplished for the 2nd time in two games.  They carried the team when the starters were playing horribly and are really starting to develop a unique identity much like our bench squad of last year did after the All-Star break.  Aaron Brooks dropped a team high 17 and added 7 assists while Jared Dudley dropped 15 and was everywhere, Marcin Gortat had 13 and 13 for yet another double-double and the bench championed an 18-0 run that forced the Boston starters back into the game...But the 'bad' part was that the same 18-0 run was nullified by a deficit that started at 11 points after the first quarter - jumped to 20 at the half - and peaked at 29 at one point in the 3rd.  It was too little too late.  The 'ugly' came in the form of the Boston players on the floor and the Boston head coach in the post game interviews.  It was Kevin Garnett openly jawing at Alvin Gentry and the Suns bench in the final seconds of the game (and receiving a technical foul for it), it was Paul Pierce blatantly mocking Channing Frye after a fast break dunk (and receiving a technical foul for it), and it was Rajon Rondo disrespectfully shooting a 3-point shot with a 10-point lead as time was expiring (and getting fouled hard by Jared Dudley for it).

Did we really expect a win?  If you were slightly delusional like me and sort of did expect a win... you need to sober up like I have.  How did I sober up you ask?  I closed my eyes and made is so with the power of my mind.

But maybe I still am under the influence, because after the game I saw something akin to a fire burning in an ice-cavern, a light shinning from a veil of darkness, a lamb laying with a lion - it was this positive Tweet from our own Scott Howard. 

47jr_medium

I basked for a moment in the glory of such a positive take-away considering the source - and then I realized I am on a drug.  It's called Eutychus. It's not available, because if you try it once, you will die and your children will weep over your exploded body. Too much?  Jump it then fools and lets talk about the Bucks.



 

Match-Ups

Steve Nash - Brandon Jennings

Grant Hill - Carlos Delfino

Vince Carter* - John Salmons

Channing Frye - Jon Brockman

Robin Lopez - Larry Sanders

*I'm assuming VC will start - though he did look as though he might have suffered a stroke and/or a stage-mach-5 concussion after colliding with Channing Frye on Tuesday and receiving a 'mouth laceration'...  so we'll see.

Key Bucks Subs: Earl Barron (Yes - that Earl Barron), Corey Maggette, Earl Boykins, Keyon Dooling, Chris Douglas-Roberts


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Brandon Jennings 40 33.1 5.5 14.5 37.7 1.6 4.8 33.2 3.0 3.8 78.3 0.7 2.8 3.5 4.8 2.3 1.3 0.3 2.1 15.5
John Salmons 50 34.8 4.9 12.4 39.2 1.3 3.2 39.6 2.9 3.7 80.3 0.4 3.0 3.4 3.2 1.9 0.9 0.4 2.2 13.9
Corey Maggette 53 22.8 4.1 9.3 44.6 0.5 1.3 34.8 4.4 5.3 82.3 0.8 3.1 3.9 1.3 2.1 0.3 0.1 2.8 13.1
Andrew Bogut 49 35.8 5.5 11.5 48.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.6 3.8 41.6 3.2 8.3 11.5 2.0 1.8 0.6 2.8 3.4 12.6
Carlos Delfino 27 33.6 4.4 11.7 37.9 2.1 6.3 33.1 1.4 1.9 76.0 0.4 3.8 4.2 2.4 1.2 1.5 0.2 1.4 12.4
Drew Gooden 25 23.6 4.3 9.7 44.2 0.1 0.5 23.1 2.1 2.7 77.6 2.1 4.4 6.5 0.7 1.2 0.7 0.4 2.8 10.8
Ersan Ilyasova 56 25.0 3.6 8.4 43.1 0.6 2.0 29.7 1.4 1.6 89.0 1.7 4.3 6.0 1.0 1.1 0.8 0.4 2.7 9.3
Chris Douglas-Roberts 34 22.8 2.9 6.9 42.7 0.4 1.1 35.9 2.0 2.4 83.1 0.2 2.1 2.3 1.3 0.9 0.8 0.4 1.9 8.3
Earl Boykins 41 16.5 3.0 6.9 43.6 0.5 1.5 36.7 1.5 1.8 82.7 0.3 0.8 1.1 2.5 1.0 0.7 0.1 0.8 8.0
Keyon Dooling 57 23.2 2.7 6.9 39.2 1.0 3.1 33.0 1.1 1.2 85.9 0.1 1.4 1.5 3.6 1.2 0.8 0.1 1.6 7.5
Luc Mbah a Moute 57 24.9 2.1 4.5 46.7 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.5 2.1 69.7 2.2 3.2 5.3 0.8 1.0 0.8 0.3 2.4 5.7
Larry Sanders 38 14.2 1.8 4.3 41.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.9 57.6 1.0 2.0 3.0 0.2 0.6 0.3 1.2 1.8 4.1
Jon Brockman 48 9.8 0.7 1.3 55.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.8 71.1 1.1 1.5 2.6 0.2 0.3 0.2 0.0 1.7 2.0

Milwaukee Injuries: Andrew Bogut (Left intercostal muscle strain), Drew Gooden (Left foot plantar fasciitis), Ersan Illyasova (Concussion), Michael Redd (Left ACL/MCL), Luc Mbah a Moute (Flu-like symptoms - day 2 day).

Suns Injuries:  Vince Carter? Channing Frye? 

Actually - team physician's assistant (not really) Grant Hill tweeted last night an encouraging status report on Channing Frye and his recovery from the collision with Carter,

47pd_medium

Attached was this photo -

47pv_medium

Needless to say... I think he'll be fine.

Brandon Jennings

Jennings_12by30_medium

This awesome painting of Brandon Jennings was created by dpwatson aka wattdogg10 - one of our very own staff writers who is an amazing artist and accomplishes his works of art because he has tigers blood and Adonis DNA.  Check out his portfolio and his other masterpieces at his website here.  

When it comes to his play - Brandon Jennings is picking up steam after suffering a broken foot that set him back for a large chunk of the season so far.  But now he is healthy - but the typical problem of young players he suffers from is consistency and execution down the stretch in games.  Over the Bucks last 5 games - Jennings has played well against other sub-par teams, posting a 27 point, 7 assist, 3 steal game against the Timberwolves and a 21-4-2 game against the Pistons.  But in games against tougher competition - Jennings is struggling significantly, he made only 2 of 6 and had 3 turnovers against Chicago and went a paltry 1-11 from the field with 4 personal fouls in 27 minutes against the Nuggets.

Steve Nash and the Suns should easily be able to contain Jennings for the second time this season - he went 2 for 10 for 6 points in their first meeting.

Rebounding and Execution

The scouting report from my armchair here is simple for this game.  This is one of those should be #winning games.  We know that earlier this year these games were still very scary - and even on this road-trip our wins against the Nets and the Pacers were too close for comfort...  but here's the deal - Andrew Bogut is out, again. 

Last time we saw the Bucks - they looked absolutely horrendous offensively (shooting only 31.1%) and we out-rebounded them like a gazillion to none (more like 54-39). We must win the rebounding battle and execute on offense.

I won't say it's absolutely necessary for tonight's game... but our starting unit REALLY needs to start pulling things together again.  For 2 games in a row they have looked drained, tired, and just flat-out bad offensively.

The Bucks are short-handed and struggling - we on the other hand are healthy and rolling.  Especially our bench.

BENCH MOB IS BACK

Is it premature to say that the bench is back?  That it has developed it's own identity and poses just as much of threat as our starting unit?  If you look at our bench production since the All-Star break I can say that with confidence.

Already on the season our bench was producing good numbers... but since the break?  WOW.

Before the break the bench's scoring average = 39.2

After the break? 53.8 ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  Not at all.

That's all folks - let's get this win and enjoy a capstone game in OKC before our boys come back to the desert.  We've got to finish up this already successful road-trip strong with a couple of wins.

GO SUNS!


Suns Schedule

Next 5 Games

@ Milwaukee Fri 03/04 6:30 PM MST
@ Oklahoma City Sun 03/06 5:00 PM MST
Houston Tue 03/08 7:00 PM MST
Denver Thu 03/10 8:30 PM MST
Orlando Sun 03/13 1:30 PM MDT

Last 5 Games

@ Boston Wed 03/02 L 103 - 115
@ New Jersey Mon 02/28 W 104 - 103
@ Indiana Sun 02/27 W 110 - 108
@ Toronto Fri 02/25 W 110 - 92
Atlanta Wed 02/23 W 105 - 97

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