The Bucks outplayed the best in the west for the first 40 minutes at the Bradley Center tonight. Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire owned the final eight minutes however, turning a five-point deficit into nine-point win for the Suns. The Bucks lost their third straight after falling to the Suns 114-105.
- Andrew Bogut. Bogut came up just a point short of posting yet another 20+ point, 10+ rebound outing. He finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists. He only got to the line twice in 40 minutes however.
- Michael Redd. Tonight's game was very up-and-down for Redd. He started 1-6, and didn't make a field goal in the fourth quarter. He got hot in the middle of the game however, highlighted by a 13-point third quarter.
- Charlie Villanueva. Villanueva played a strong overall game, focusing on driving to the basket instead of settling for contested outside shots. He was rewarded with 14 points in 29 minutes.
- Two. Amare Stoudemire's overall missed shots in 40 minutes. Stoudemire didn't dominate, but he made 6-8 from the field and 7-7 from the line.
- 0. Royal Ivey, starting at point guard for the Bucks with Mo Williams out, didn't get credit for a single assist in 28 minutes.
- 33. The Suns made 11 three pointers, resulting in 33 points. The Bucks made four from outside, for 12 points. Considering the Bucks made the same amount of free throws (23) and six more two-pointers (35-29), it's fair to say the three point shooting discrepancy was one of the main problems.
- Free Throws. Against an elite team, it's key to convert the easiest of points. The Bucks were just fine at the line tonight, making 23-26. Charlie Bell made six free throws, equaling the number he made in the previous eight games. Royal Ivey made six free throws also, equaling the number he made in the previous nine games. Unfortunately, the Suns outdid the Bucks even in this area, if ever so slightly. They made 23-25 from the line.
- Second Quarter. When these teams met for the first time on Jan. 12, the Bucks played one of their most explosive twelve minutes of the year in scoring 37 second quarter points, courtesy of six different Bucks. Tonight, the Bucks continued their blistering second quarter scoring pace against the Suns. This time, they scored 38 points, courtesy of six different Bucks: Simmons, Villanueva, Storey, Bell, Redd, and Bogut. Notably missing from that list are Mo Williams, who was out with a sprained lefty pinky finger, and Yi Jianlian, the team’s fourth leading scorer this season. Indeed, the Bucks received contributions from more than just the usual suspects. Remember the steady starting lineup of Williams, Redd, Mason, Yi, and Bogut? Guess who started, and sparked the second quarter for the Bucks? None of the original starters. Try the fearsome fivesome of Bell, Storey, Simmons, Villanueva, and Voskuhl, who combined for 23 points in the quarter.
- Last-Second And Second-After Shots. After their big second quarter, the Bucks stayed strong, never relinquishing their lead in the third quarter. Some refreshing clutch shooting played an important part in staying on top. The Suns were within three points when Bobby Simmons swished an awkward 17-foot fadeaway to extend the lead to 74-69. Less than a minute later, the Suns pulled within a single point before Andrew Bogut buried a fadeaway. Of course, the Bucks never seem to be too clutch, as evidenced by Simmons' second-after-buzzer bomb from past midcourt.
- Still Learning (In) The Clutch. The two-man game of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire proved too strong in the fourth quarter, as the Bucks lost track of two players that you cannot lose track of. The pair combined for 25 points in the last seven minutes of the game. The Bucks scored 15 points in the last seven minutes of the game. Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut combined for one field goal in the fourth quarter.
- First Quarter. The Suns are roughly the NBA’s offensive equivalent to the NFL’s Patriots. The Suns aren’t quite as great on a historical level statistically, but they are similarly impossible to stop. Both feature a general (Steve Nash and Tom Brady) who, while perhaps overrated by some, tend to live up to their reputations as doing no wrong, and making their teammates better. They also both have a dominant athletic force (Amare Stoudemire and Randy Moss), ultimate mismatches for any opponent. Rounding out their big threes is the versatile, two-way player and the running back. They (Shawn Marion and Laurence Maroney) are sometimes overshadowed due to their roles, but of course are immensely important. Nash, Stoudemire, and Marion make a lot of defenses look silly, and the Bucks were no different in tonight’s first quarter. After jumping out to a 7-0 lead, the Bucks were outscored by the Suns 30-17 to close the quarter. The problem was that the Suns, behind their big three, did exactly what they wanted. Case in point: Nash attempted four three-pointers, Marion dunked the ball three times, along with a layup, and Stoudemire dunked the ball two times. The three Suns combined for 22 first quarter points, compared to 24 points for the Bucks. As long as Nash is shooting wide open three-pointers and Marion and Stoudemire are dunking the ball with such regularity, it’s impossible to keep pace withe Suns. During the second quarter, in which the Bucks outscored the Suns 37-24, Nash attempted one from outside and neither Stoudemire nor Marion dunked even once.
- Yi And Ivey. One is a rookie and the other is a career backup. Both are starters on the Bucks however. Yi Jianlian struggled against the Suns in the team's first matchup, scoring just four along with one rebound. Tonight, he matched those four points in the two minutes. However, he only scored two more points in the game's final 46 minutes. With Villanueva in form, Yi was the odd man out, getting only 18 minutes. Royal Ivey made six free throws, but didn't accomplish much else, finishing with a game-worst -24 rating. Refer to the second number of three numbers on this recap for more on Ivey.