Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks Preview: Just win, baby

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sport

Suns @ Bucks

  • Records: PHX 27-18 (2nd, Pacific); MIL 8-36 (last, NBA)
  • Time: 5 p.m. PST, 6 p.m. MST, 7 p.m. CST, 8 p.m. EST
  • TV: Fox Sports Arizona

Previous Meeting

Jan. 4 - The teams first meeting was a very emotional night for fans and players alike as Caron Butler made his first trip back to the Valley of the Sun since being traded away. However, the Suns were still able to pull out a 116-100 win. Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo and Butler combined for 61 points on 21-34 shooting. However, Gerald Green (24 points) and Channing Frye (22) were hot for the Suns as well. The difference in that game was turnovers as the Bucks forked over the ball an insane 26 times leading to 17 more shot attempts for Phoenix than Milwaukee.

Injury Report

The Suns will be without Eric Bledsoe and Emeka Okafor, but you already knew that. The Bucks have a bit more to worry about. Carlos Delfino and Ekpe Udoh are both out and Zaza Pachulia is doubtful. O.J. Mayo and Larry Sanders are both listed as questionable with illnesses.

Suns


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
Goran Dragic 41 34.8 6.9 14.0 49.5 1.3 3.6 37.4 4.3 5.5 77.4 1.0 2.4 3.4 6.1 2.8 1.4 0.2 2.4 19.4
Eric Bledsoe 24 33.5 6.3 13.0 48.6 1.2 3.3 35.0 4.2 5.3 78.9 0.4 3.8 4.3 5.8 3.3 1.5 0.3 2.5 18.0
Gerald Green 44 28.0 4.9 11.2 43.9 2.4 6.4 37.0 1.7 2.0 84.1 0.4 2.6 3.0 1.6 1.5 0.9 0.7 2.8 13.9
Markieff Morris 43 25.0 4.7 9.8 48.2 0.4 1.1 34.7 2.9 3.7 78.1 2.0 4.0 6.0 1.7 1.6 0.9 0.6 2.6 12.7
Channing Frye 44 28.3 4.5 10.0 45.5 2.3 5.4 42.0 1.0 1.3 78.6 1.0 4.3 5.3 1.0 1.1 0.8 0.8 3.1 12.4
Marcus Morris 44 22.1 3.5 8.1 42.7 1.3 3.4 36.9 1.6 2.0 78.4 1.2 3.1 4.2 1.0 1.2 1.0 0.3 2.1 9.7
Miles Plumlee 44 27.8 4.3 8.3 51.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.2 2.3 51.0 2.6 6.2 8.8 0.6 1.5 0.7 1.5 2.6 9.7
P.J. Tucker 44 30.3 3.3 7.9 41.6 1.0 2.3 41.2 1.9 2.5 78.7 2.1 4.0 6.1 1.9 1.3 1.2 0.3 2.4 9.4
Leandro Barbosa 9 21.3 3.4 8.6 40.3 0.2 1.3 16.7 1.6 2.0 77.8 0.4 1.8 2.2 2.0 0.9 0.6 0.3 1.7 8.7
Ish Smith 32 13.1 1.6 4.4 35.7 0.0 0.5 5.9 0.3 0.5 52.9 0.4 1.2 1.6 2.3 1.0 0.7 0.2 0.8 3.4
Archie Goodwin 36 10.3 1.2 3.2 38.3 0.1 0.8 10.7 0.5 0.8 66.7 0.4 1.3 1.7 0.4 0.9 0.4 0.2 0.7 3.0
Dionte Christmas 22 6.7 0.8 2.0 39.5 0.3 1.0 26.1 0.5 0.5 83.3 0.4 0.9 1.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.6 2.3
Alex Len 16 7.2 0.8 1.7 48.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.6 0.8 75.0 1.2 1.0 2.2 0.1 0.6 0.1 0.3 1.4 2.2
Viacheslav Kravtsov 17 3.1 0.4 0.7 58.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.5 50.0 0.4 0.4 0.8 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.1 0.4 1.1

The Suns are a pretty balanced team, with some good-looking numbers up and down the roster. Goran Dragic will be the best player in this game.

Bucks


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 Knight 36 30.6 5.7 13.8 41.6 1.5 4.4 33.3 2.9 3.6 80.8 0.6 3.1 3.7 4.6 2.8 1.0 0.2 1.9 15.8
O.J. Mayo 41 27.5 4.5 11.3 39.6 1.6 4.4 36.3 1.7 1.9 87.3 0.6 2.0 2.6 2.4 2.1 0.6 0.3 2.1 12.2
John Henson 36 27.7 5.2 9.8 53.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.6 2.8 57.4 2.5 5.7 8.2 1.6 1.5 0.6 2.2 2.4 12.1
Khris Middleton 44 28.9 4.2 9.5 43.8 1.2 3.0 39.7 1.2 1.5 80.6 0.7 3.4 4.1 1.8 1.3 1.1 0.4 2.7 10.8
Caron Butler 28 23.9 3.9 10.3 38.1 1.4 4.2 32.2 1.3 1.5 83.7 0.5 4.1 4.7 1.8 1.6 0.7 0.3 2.0 10.5
Gary Neal 24 20.3 3.5 9.2 38.5 1.5 3.8 40.7 1.5 1.8 83.3 0.2 1.6 1.8 1.6 1.3 0.1 0.0 0.8 10.1
Ersan Ilyasova 34 26.5 3.8 10.0 37.8 0.6 2.4 24.7 1.2 1.5 78.8 1.7 3.7 5.5 1.3 1.5 1.0 0.1 2.2 9.4
Giannis Antetokounmpo 39 23.7 2.5 5.5 44.9 0.5 1.5 30.0 1.6 2.3 71.1 1.2 3.5 4.7 1.8 1.7 0.7 0.8 2.4 7.0
Zaza Pachulia 17 25.1 2.2 6.2 36.2 0.0 0.1 0.0 2.5 2.6 93.3 2.8 3.8 6.5 1.8 1.7 0.9 0.3 2.5 6.9
Larry Sanders 17 24.7 2.6 6.3 42.1 0.0 0.1 0.0 1.1 2.5 45.2 2.2 4.2 6.4 0.9 1.2 0.8 1.8 3.3 6.4
Luke Ridnour 33 22.1 2.5 6.5 39.4 0.8 2.0 37.9 0.4 0.6 68.4 0.5 1.4 1.8 3.6 1.3 0.7 0.1 1.5 6.2
Nate Wolters 33 19.5 2.4 5.9 40.2 0.1 0.9 10.3 1.2 1.7 68.4 0.5 1.5 1.9 3.2 0.9 0.7 0.3 0.8 6.0
Miroslav Raduljica 31 11.1 1.8 3.1 57.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.1 1.3 82.9 1.3 1.2 2.4 0.5 0.5 0.2 0.3 1.8 4.6
Ekpe Udoh 33 20.7 1.5 3.7 40.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.9 1.4 64.4 1.7 2.3 4.0 0.8 1.0 0.4 1.1 2.4 3.8

The Bucks on the other hand ...

Look at those shooting percentages. Look at them.

Bottom Line

The Bucks have the worst record in the NBA. They're the worst offensive team in the NBA, barely cracking 90 points per game. They have exactly one win versus Western Conference teams. They will be short-handed, and they didn't have much talent to begin with.The Bucks have some perimeter players who can put up some points (Brandon Knight, O.J. Mayo, Khris Middleton, Caron Butler, Gary Neal) but the best of them shoots just 43 percent from the field, meaning it takes a lot of shots to get those points.

The Suns have to win this game, plain and simple.

Projected Starting Lineups

G: Goran Dragic - Brandon Knight

G: Gerald Green - Khris Middleton

F: P.J. Tucker - Giannis Antetokounmpo

F: Channing Frye - Ersan Ilyasova

C: Miles Plumlee - John Henson

Key Matchups

  • Suns perimeter defense vs. Bucks perimeter players: As long as the Suns guards make things tough on Milwaukee's guards, the Bucks should have trouble scoring enough to keep pace. The Bucks don't need much encouragement to take bad shots, but a little encouragement certainly doesn't hurt.
  • Whoever vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Greek sensation is one of the most intriguing players in the game. I'm looking forward to seeing him play for the first time regardless of what he does in this game.
  • Plumlee, Frye and Len vs. John Henson: Henson is a very nice young player who can do some damage on offense, defense and the glass if you don't keep him in check.

Time to stretch this road game winning streak to three.

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