In a thrilling Sunday matinee finish, the Bucks were able to knock off the Phoenix Suns and extended their winning streak to 14 games with a 104-101 victory.
Despite not having Giannis Antetokounmpo due to a right quad contusion, the Bucks had no issues in leaping ahead of the Suns in the first quarter. Seven points from Jrue Holiday were the leading force in Milwaukee seizing momentum. It granted them a 33-26 advantage heading into the second quarter.
The Bucks would be up all the way until the 3:33 mark of the second quarter, which was when Phoenix tied things up. That’d be short-lived though, as the Bucks quickly re-gained the lead, despite their 3-point shots not finding a rhythm. At intermission, Milwaukee constructed a 53-46 advantage.
Milwaukee would keep their lead throughout the third, though the Suns closed the gap in the dying embers with a Devin Booker jumper with 0.3 seconds left. Through three quarters of play, the Bucks clung to a razor-thin 75-74 lead.
Phoenix came out firing on all cylinders to begin the fourth as the snatched a six-point lead in the blink of an eye. However, the Bucks refused to wave the white flag and instead, embarked on a run to come back and even things up. It’d be a nail biter of a finish. Brook Lopez converted a layup with just over 24 seconds left. Then, on the other end, it was a repeat of Game 5 of the 2021 NBA Finals when Jrue Holiday forced a Devin Booker turnover. Milwaukee then put the final touches on a 104-101 victory, extending their winning streak to 14 games.
Jrue Holiday led the Bucks in scoring with 33 points, which also served as a game-high for both teams. Brook Lopez was big down low, contributing with 22 points.
For the Suns, Devin Booker led the way with 24 points on 9-of-21 shooting.
The Bucks now travel to Brooklyn on Tuesday to face the Nets before returning home on Wednesday to face the Magic.
Milwaukee’s 3-point shooting was off in this one.
It didn’t end up not preventing them from securing the win, but this was one for the Bucks to forget from deep. They’d convert on just 13-of-45 attempts (28.9 percent) on the afternoon. Despite the woes from deep, they were still able to get things done elsewhere, which paced them in securing the win. Additionally, they hit their 3-point shots when it mattered most, especially Jrue Holiday down in the clutch.
Milwaukee’s depth is outrageous.
I can’t remember a Bucks team with more depth. Mike Budenholzer would go five deep into his bench yesterday and everybody had strong contributions. The additions of Crowder and Leonard have definitely assisted Milwaukee well in their first two games with the team and will likely continue to serve dividends. In his postgame presser, Bud mentioned the versatility that’s at his disposal. As for what the rotation will look like come the playoffs? That’ll remain a mystery, but one thing is sure — Bud sure has some valid options to go to.
Jrue Holiday continues to amaze.
In a game where the Bucks were without their leading scorer in Giannis, it was imperative for others to step up — and Jrue Holiday did just that. We’ve seen it time and time again when Antetokounmpo is sidelined where the Bucks are in dire need of scoring and Holiday is the one who produces it. As I mentioned before, this was a game where their 3-point shooting wasn’t fully there, but Holiday was able to knock down shots in the high leverage moments. It isn’t just limited to his offense too, as he takes that momentum and applies it on the defensive side of the ball as well. It’s sort of unreal as to how many times we’ve seen it in his time in Milwaukee, but it just keeps happening over and over again. Here’s what Brook Lopez had to say regarding this:
Brook Lopez on Jrue Holiday's steal on Devin Booker late: "Just the best two-way player in the league. Those are the plays he makes just time and time again."— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) February 26, 2023
Bonus Bucks Bits
- In the first half, the Bucks did a great job of containing Devin Booker. However, he’d come alive in the second half. When it was all said and done, he’d finish with 24 points which led the Suns. However, he was unable to convert late when Jrue Holiday poked the basketball away from him.
- It was a clash down low between Deandre Ayton and Brook Lopez. Both big men had 22 points in a very physical outing. In his postgame presser, Lopez mentioned how much he enjoys those types of games where the refs let the players play more. From my perspective, I agree.
- Jae Crowder was absolutely crucial for the Bucks. In a matchup against his former team, he poured in seven points, six coming from two insanely clutch threes from the corner in the fourth quarter. It’s been only two games, but he’s fitting in absolutely perfect. Postgame, we had a chance to talk to him:
I asked Jae Crowder what has impressed him the most so far about his new teammates. Here's his response: pic.twitter.com/lBgZGFUHbq— Gabe Stoltz (@Stoltzy3) February 26, 2023
- We’ve officially reached the point of this winning streak where a poll is required:
When do the Bucks lose their next game?
This poll is closed
Tuesday @ Brooklyn
Wednesday vs. Orlando
Saturday vs. Philadelphia
Sunday @ Washington
They win all of these games
- In the dying embers of the game when the Bucks were up four, the Suns had to go the length of the floor. Inexplicably, Joe Ingles fouled Devin Booker on a 3-point attempt. It would rim out, but still, there was absolutely no reason for that.
- Last, this was unexpected: