The Phoenix Suns look for victory #2 in a row after drubbing the PTL in what was clearly their best game of the season thus far. The opponents tonight are the visiting 2-5 Milwaukee Bucks who are losers of four in a row.
Don't let the Bucks' record deceive you. While managing to lose to the Nuggets, Kings, Clippers, and Jazz, the margin of defeat against some decent WC competition has been near 6 points. In addition, the Bucks have played their last three games without Andrew Bogut, who is in Australia, dealing with, well, no one seems to know, so it's called a "family issue."
The Suns have won 18 straight against the Bucks in U.S. Airways Center and 23 straight match ups in Phoenix.
While the Suns strangely find themselves in the league top 10 in both field goal percentage (42.3%) and points (91.3) allowed, the Bucks only allow 91.9 ppg and 41.6%. Can you say a DEFENSIVE STRUGGLE is on tap for tonight? These two squads have remarkably similar numbers on offense, which, aren't that great:
PPG: PHX 92.9, MIL 91.4
FG%: PHX 42.8, MIL 41.9.
TOT REB: (let's remember Bogut is out tonight): PHX 43.7%pg, MIL 41.9%.
What They're Saying
Bucks coach Scott Skiles:
"We're not respectful of execution yet like we need to be. We're coming out of timeouts and guys are not knowing where they're supposed to be, losing focus. Which is typically what a losing team does."
Stephen Jackson (who couldn't blame himself or his teammates):
"It's hard when you don't get calls on the road. We're going in there aggressive and not getting those calls. It's kind of frustrating."
Suns Coach Alvin Gentry
"We've done a good job of containing dribble penetration for the most part...If you're not rotating in dribble penetration, then you can keep your bigs on their bigs so the rebounding becomes less of a factor. Elston (Turner) and Dan Majerle have done a great job with what we're trying to establish and just the whole atmosphere we're trying to create defensively."
|Luc Mbah a Moute||2||16.5||2.0||5.5||36.4||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.5||3.5||4.0||0.0||1.0||0.5||1.0||2.0||4.0|
Getting Down to Brass Tacks
- The Bucks are winless on the road after losing last night against the Clippers. With only 11 players available, the Bucks were forced to play two rookies, Tobias Harris and Darington Hobson.
- The Bucks are without Andrew Bogut, (personal) Mike Dunleavy, (groin) and Luc Mbah a Moute (knee)
- The Bucks struggled on pick 'n roll defense, allowing Chris Paul, Caron Butler, and Blake Griffin to dominate. Let's hope that trend continues as Steve Nash and the boys go to work.
- The Suns dominated a road weary Blazers squad on Friday, outrebounding them 47-38 and out shooting them 47% to 32%.
- The Suns picked up 31 boards off the bench, led by Robin Lopez's 12 and Markieff Morris' 9.
Thoughts From the Master of the Obvious
This is a very winnable game for the Suns. Or, this is an expected victory. If the Suns are going to compete for a playoff spot, they need to beat up on the Milwaukee Bucks of the world. Like the Blazers, the shorthanded Bucks are playing the second game of a back to back. Look for the Suns to continue their defensive and rebounding prowess while exploiting the Bucks porous Pick and Roll defense. Here's to hoping Channing Frye can find his shooting touch, Grant Hill and Jared Dudley can contain Stephen Jackson and Brandon Jennings, and the Suns can build off their fast start Friday (30 first quarter points).