The Milwaukee Bucks’ win streak stopped at four on Thursday night, put to a halt by a 107-131 loss to a Phoenix Suns team sporting the NBA’s best record. With a depleted guard corps and a thing frontcourt rotation, the Bucks couldn’t keep up with Phoenix after the first quarter and didn’t have an answer in the paint as Deandre Ayton paced the Suns with 27 points.
A tightly played opening set saw Milwaukee take a 34-31 lead that quickly dissipated as they were outscored by 11 in the second quarter, leaving the Bucks trailing 64-56 at halftime. While neither team found a rhythm behind the three-point line (26.3% for the Bucks, 30% for Phoenix), the Suns found an advantage inside, outmaneuvering the de facto center tandem of Bobby Portis and Giannis Antetokounmpo to the tune of 68 points in the paint and holding a 21-15 advantage in second-chance points. Entering the fourth quarter behind 97-77, the Bucks all but ceded the game as Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Greg Monroe—played only sparingly through the first three quarters—piled up playing time with more than 7 minutes remaining. After a brief trek through the Western U.S., the Bucks are back at home on Monday with Serge Ibaka in tow, vying for a Valentine’s Day rebound against a new-look Trailblazers squad.
Stat That Stood Out
The Bucks’ managed to sweep the plus-minus box score in the worst way with every active player logging a minus finish to the night. Uncharacteristically uneven play from Giannis earned him a -18 while Jrue Holiday recorded a game-worse -23. The Suns, for their part, all earned positive plus-minus ratings…except for JaVale McGee.