Much like the night before in Golden State, the Phoenix Suns came out a step slow and found themselves down 15 in the second quarter before finding some life and pulling back into the game by late third quarter.
But just like the night before, the shorthanded Suns ran out of gas and firepower, and couldn’t hold off a Bucks team that leads the NBA in wins.
Deandre Ayton sat a full quarter with foul trouble and when he came back mid-fourth he had lost all feel for the ball, committing multiple turnovers and losing the ball with several short-armed attempts at gaining possession. He also missed all of his shots in the 4th.
Booker ran out of gas as well, after scoring 17 in the 3rd to pull the Suns back within one, and the Suns went out meekly in the end. A 97-97 tie with under 7 minutes left became a 13-point deficit with just over a minute and a half left.
Former Suns Jae Crowder and Jevon Carter combined for 6-9 on threes, almost matching the Suns total output on threes as a team (8-23). That’s a two-game total of 11 threes made by the Suns. I’ll have to look to see if that’s a team ‘record’.
Crowder’s final three forced the Suns timeout with 1:13 left and a 114-101 deficit, and he stood at midcourt staring down the Suns coaching staff for a few seconds before retreating to his bench to celebrate with his new teammates.
Bucks win, 116-104.
They had more free throws (37 to 16), more three point attempts (39 to 23), more rebounds (46 to 41), more offensive rebounds (13 to 8), and fewer personal fouls committed (15 to 26).
Booker had 30 points for the Suns. Giannis finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Brook Lopez had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Suns are just in a bad place these days, folks.
Orlando comes to town on Thursday.
Deandre Ayton got the first shot, a 15-footer outside the free throw line that he missed. The Bucks countered with a nice play to get Giannis Antetokounmpo a layup, then got a three from Brook Lopez to go up 5-0. The Suns, on the other hand, got it stuffed or stolen three straight times after that until Ayton made a runner in the lane.
Giannis went after Ayton on drives, trying to get him into foul trouble. After a couple of stops, Ayton collected that first foul and suddenly there was a little bit of worry. Especially with the Bucks up 10-4 after free throws.
A minute later, Giannis had bullied his way into drawing the second foul on Ayton less than 5 minutes into the game and... well, Ayton has accounted for 6 of the Suns 8 points so far. Non-Ayton Suns are 1-5 shooting. Bucks up 13-8.
Can I say this game doesn’t have a good feel to it? It doesn’t. It really doesn’t. Book has started 0-3 from the floor with a turnover.
Jae Crowder checked into the game with 5:23 left in the quarter, 16-14 Bucks lead. The Suns actually took a 20-18 lead on a Craig three as the Bucks looked like they were walking in mud for a bit as Giannis took a rest.
Cam Payne and crew came in with the game at 21-20 Bucks and it didn’t matter that Booker was out there because the Bucks just completely focused on stopping Book and it worked. Payne — Warren — Biyombo — Ross — Booker got outscored 8-4 the rest of the quarter.
29-24 Bucks after one. Giannis has 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Booker has 6 points on 8 shots and 1 assist.
The Bucks start the second quarter with three starters including Giannis while the Suns come out with... none. Giannis trucks people, Jae makes two threes, and quickly the Suns are down 10. Meanwhile, Cam Payne dribbles around 10 seconds only to attack Giannis on a drive. He missed.
Quick summary of the Suns offense: a lot of jumpers rimming out, layup attempts stuffed, open threes missed. Suns are shooting 32% from the field, down 13. Bench players started this game 1-12 from the field.
When Ish Wainright suddenly made a running jumper followed by an open three, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer quickly called a timeout to get his guys back on task. lol. Suns down 10.
The Suns just weren’t in this game mentally though. Ayton got a rebound stripped for a Giannis dunk, then Giannis absolutely trucked Torrey Craig — called a defensive foul — on a fast break and the game was about to get away from the Suns.
They just didn’t have a juice in this one, and the Bucks fed off that. Bigger at every position, just dominating physically. Ayton has 3 fouls, Chris Paul has nothing. And Booker had nothing in this game either — was a shadow of what we’ve seen the past two weeks. He’s exhausted, being hounded by Jrue effing Holiday the whole time, and can’t get untracked. He still has 6 points, on 10 shots now.
Suns down 15, 57-42 late in the second quarter. Just look at these lineups:
- Bucks: Lopez (7’2”), Giannis (6’11”), Portis (6’10”), Crowder (6’6”) and Holiday (6’4”)
- Suns: Jock (6’10”), Craig (6’7”), Okogie (6’4”), Booker (6’5”) and Paul (6’0”)
Good lord. Bucks lead on rebounds (27-21), free throws (14-5), three point shots (21-11).
Oh also, former Suns have as many threes at halftime (3-4, Jevon Carter and Jae Crowder) as all the current Suns combined (3-11).
I guess we should be happy the Suns are only down 9 at halftime, finishing on a 6-0 run.
Bucks up 57-48 at halftime.
One play into the second half, the former Suns have MORE threes than all the current Suns combined as Jevon Carter makes his second.
The game out of hand, physically, for a bit as Giannis knocked out Torrey Craig’s tooth (no foul call), which knocked Craig out of the game, then Book got a tech, Ayton got his fifth foul (Lopez flopped badly) and yet...
Somehow the Suns pulled back to 73-67 anyway, thanks to Devin Booker going on a personal run (13 points in the quarter so far). Maybe they’re awake now? Momentum certainly seems to be shifting. Cam Payne makes a three. Jock Landale gets a pair of free throws.
As the Suns pull to 76-72, Bucks coach Bud calls a timeout to refocus his troops.
Giannis, playing the part of a truck in this one, finally committed his first foul with 1:37 left in the quarter and he immediately was calling for a review (Bud declined).
As the Suns pulled within 3 (83-80), Crowder got the ball, tripped, fell into Booker and drew the foul. Crafty...
Booker ended the quarter on a pair of makes over Jae, though, including a one-on-one breakdown as the buzzer sounded that even had Jae smiling to Book on his way back to the bench.
Suns down only 85-84 after three. Booker had 17 in the quarter, 27 for the game. Do they have enough left?
Welp, Payne opened the fourth quarter with a PAIR of threes to put the Suns up 90-87 and the crowd was ROCKING. Next time down, Payne got one of his rocket passes caught, by Landale, and the Suns were up 3 again.
Giannis just kept trucking, and now the Suns were fouling him quickly. Forcing free throws (he’s only 11-18 so far).
Carter got a three a couple minutes later and stared down Cam Payne, who just laughed as he walked away. Lots of connections between these teams.
Suns down one, 97-96, when the main starters came back in (Ish stayed in for Torrey, still, who’d lost a tooth remember) to join Giannis, Holiday and Book and Okogie.
Then the Suns lost their edge. The Bucks went on a 8-0 run as Ayton had some trouble getting back into the game — missed jumper, turnover, stripped on offensive rebound. 105-97 Bucks very quickly. Ingles made a three, and the Bucks were up 108-101... all while Giannis was getting a mid-quarter rest. Booker has only 3 points this quarter, with 3:46 left.