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Suns 122, Bucks 114: Recap

The Bucks again gave one of the West's best all they could handle, but a Milwaukee no-show in the third quarter helped the Suns down the Bucks 122-114.

Three Bucks

  • Andrew Bogut. January continues to treat Bogut very well. He was exceptional in the post, scoring a career-high 29 points plus 11 rebounds against Amare Stoudemire and company. Bogut couldn't miss most of the night, finishing 14/16 from the field, with one of those misses being a tip. Nobody likes to lose, but this sort of promising performance from Bogut does take a bit of the sting out the Bucks' 22nd loss of the season. Still, Bogut had 21 points by the 11 minute mark of the third, so you wish the Bucks could have kept him more involved, especially given the way the Bucks' struggled in the third.
  • Bobby Simmons. Simmons finished with 17 points on 8/12 from the field. He ignited the Bucks in the first quarter with 11 points, but while he was quiet the rest of the game it's still a very good sign to see Bobby making shots.
  • Charlie Bell. Another great night off the bench from Bell, as he scored 18 points along with seven assists and just one turnover.

Three Numbers

  • 114. A day after a nice offensive performance against the Lakers, the Bucks set a season high in points scored. They couldn't miss in the first half en route to 68 points, and in fact outscored the Suns in every quarter save for the third. The Bucks shot 56% from the field and 11/20 from three point range.
  • 122. Unfortunately, the Bucks didn't have much of an answer for the league's most efficient offense. The Suns' 122 points came courtesy of 57% shooting, 11/26 threes, and a commanding 21-7 edge in free throw makes. The Bucks almost seemed resigned to having no chance against the Suns' high powered offense, which was the most discouraging part of the game.
  • 87.5%. Bogut's field goal percentage was slightly better than Yi Jianlian's 14/17 performance against Charlotte in December.

Three Good

  • The first half. On the second night of a back-to-back the Bucks would have been excused for being run out of the building by a great Phoenix team that theoretically plays at a pace the Bucks can't keep up with. But they not only hung in but actually led 68-61 at halftime.  The Bucks used a 9-2 run to close the first to lead 31-29 and then led by as many as 10 in the second quarter before settling for a seven point edge.
  • Role players filling roles. Simmons had probably his best game of the season and Bell was also on again, but they weren't alone among the Bucks "other" guys. Royal Ivey scored nine on 4/5 fg and Villanueva had 10 to compensate slightly for Yi's off night.
  • Upping the tempo. The Bucks have consistently struggled in fast-paced games, as the lack of contributions from the role players has generally left them unable to keep up offensively while their defense doesn't contribute the turnovers necessary to create easier transition opportunities. Tonight they showed an improved ability to run and gun, as they covered up for their bad defense and inability to create turnovers by shooting well and taking care of the ball (nine TOs).

Three Bad

  • The Bucks' D. Steve Nash did whatever he wanted all night, scoring 35 along with 7 assists on 13/17 fg. Nash helped stretch the Suns' lead in the second half when the Bucks were way too willing to switch and give Nash open looks from the outside, helping the Suns put it away late. You have to question the coaching strategy, as the Bucks had no answer for the Suns' offense no matter who the Suns looked to: Boris Diaw was 10/15 for 21 points and Amare was 12/16 for 31 points.
  • The starting backcourt.. After a very effective return off the bench last night, Redd wasn't helping in his return to the starting lineup. He scored 18, but shot just 5/16 from the field, was -16, and he lost the ball trying to get a shot with the Bucks trailing by four with 55 seconds left. If Redd scores rather than loses the ball, the Bucks have a chance to make a stop and tie the game. Granted, they had done nothing to suggest they could get a stop, but you at least have to give yourself a chance, right? Meanwhile, Mo's been playing well and a ton of minutes, so perhaps not surprisingly he was due for a rest. However, in 30 minutes he made little impact, allowing Nash to light it up while contributing only seven points and three assists himself.
  • The third quarter. The Bucks followed up their best offensive half of the year with a perhaps more characteristic 18-point third. On the other end the Bucks' had no answers for the Suns offense, watching them score 35 to turn a seven point halftime deficit into a 10-point lead heading into the fourth.