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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Phoenix Suns Preview: Trying to Salvage the Road Trip

Milwaukee looks to end road trip 2-3 in Phoenix

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

After blowing a 19-point lead to the Utah Jazz on Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks are looking to go .400 on this road trip with their final game against the Phoenix Suns. It will be the first time the Bucks play the Suns with Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal in Phoenix, with KD’s inactive for their two meetings last year.

Where We’re At

The Bucks are going into their fifth game of the Doc Rivers era and so far it has been a mixed bag, with the team sitting at a record of 1-3. They battled the reigning NBA champions in the Denver Nuggets before losing a winnable game against the Portland Trail Blazers, where they could have won in crunch time but fell by three points, 119-116. In the lone win, they came back after trailing 44-20 in the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks. Then came what seemingly crept up on Doc Rivers during his entire coaching career: blowing winnable games. The Bucks only mustered 13 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday and allowed the Jazz to score 40, swinging a 12-point Bucks lead at the start of the frame to a 15-point loss, 123-108. The defense has seemingly taken a step forward, with Milwaukee holding the 14th-best defensive rating over their last five games. That improvement on the defensive side of the ball will be put to the test against the team with the 7th best offensive rating in basketball all season.

The Phoenix Suns are finally starting to look like the team they thought they would be when they reshaped their roster by acquiring Beal, Jusuf Nurkic, and a bevy of role players on veteran minimum deals. Phoenix has gone 12-6 in 2024 and has won 10 of their last 13 games. Their only losses came against the Indiana Pacers (despite Devin Booker’s 62 points), the Orlando Magic, and the Atlanta Hawks. The duo of Durant and Booker has looked strong, with the two combining for 56.1 points per night on over 50% shooting from the field (Booker is at 50%, while Durant is shooting 53.8%). Despite his past injury issues, Nurkic has been the healthiest player on the Suns, with him missing just three games this season and averages 12 points per game. Old Friend Grayson Allen is having the best statistical season of his career, with the former Duke Blue Devil averaging a career-high 13 points per game while nearly shooting 50-50-90 on the year (.516/.491/.878).

Injury Report

Giannis, Damian Lillard, and Brook Lopez are all on the injury report with different ailments. Antetokoumpo is probable with patellar tendinitis in his right knee, while Lillard and Lopez are questionable with a left ankle sprain and personal reasons respectively. Andre Jackson Jr is also probable with a right wrist injury.

Bradley Beal will be in the lineup while he recovers from a nasal fracture. The Suns will still be without guard Damion Lee who has been out since October with surgery on his right meniscus.

Player to Watch

After putting up just 10 points per game in January, including six straight games scoring in the single digits, Jusuf Nurkic has found his mojo offensively in February. The “Bosnian Beast” has three straight games scoring 10+ points, including 18 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists against the Wizards on Sunday.

How To Watch

TNT at 9:00 p.m. CST.



Poll

Game 51: Against the Suns, the Bucks will...

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Win big (by 10 or more points)
    (9 votes)
  • 21%
    Win close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (23 votes)
  • 29%
    Lose close (by 9 or fewer points)
    (32 votes)
  • 40%
    Lose big (by 10 or more points)
    (44 votes)
108 votes total Vote Now

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