PHOENIX — What were you doing back on Feb. 21, 1987?
That’s the last time the Milwaukee Bucks won a basketball game in Phoenix, a 115-107 victory in which Phoenix’s leading scorer was Walter Davis and Alvan Adams played 26 minutes off the bench.
That game was so long ago the average cost of gas was 89 cents a gallon, the average new house cost $92K and disposable contacts were first entering the marketplace, according to the Suns’ pregame notes.
Robin Lopez and Earl Clark of the Suns and Milwaukee starters Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova were not even born. Phoenix’s Goran Dragic and Milwaukee’s Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Joe Alexander were not even 1.
Yes, this was such a long time ago Milwaukee head coach Scott Skiles was the team’s first-round pick that season.
Quite a bit has happened in the time it has taken Phoenix to win 21 in a row at home over the Bucks, the second-longest streak against one opponent in franchise history (to a 24-game streak against Sacramento from 1987-97) and the second-longest current streak (to San Antonio’s 23-gamer over Golden State).
Finally, Milwaukee is the only team aside from Charlotte (0-5 after starting play in 2004) to never win a game inside the building formerly known as America West Arena.
Just don’t try telling Suns head coach Alvin Gentry that any of that matters.
“I don’t read a whole lot into that, I really don’t,” Gentry said. “It doesn’t matter because all these guys know is that they’re coming here and for some of them it will be the first time that he plays here. Brandon Jennings hasn’t lost a game here. Unless you’re telling me the same team with the same players are playing every year, then I’ll read something into it. Other than that, I won’t read a whole lot into it.”
Another fun stat, since Cleveland selected LeBron James first overall in 2003, only one team that’s picked first has beaten the Suns in Phoenix: Derrick Rose’s Bulls. That includes Dwight Howard’s Magic, Andrew Bogut’s Bucks of course, Andrea Bargnani’s Raptors, Greg Oden’s Blazers and, if you can count it, Blake Griffin’s Clippers.
BREAKING NEWS: Bucks’ Skiles rushed to hospital
Milwaukee head coach Scott Skiles has been taken to a Phoenix hospital for precautionary measures because of an irregular heartbeat.
Jim Boylan will take the reins in Skiles’ absence. Boylan went 24-32 as interim head coach of the Bulls after Chicago fired Skiles in 2007-08.
Milwaukee’s sharpshooter Redd out for the year
If bad news comes in threes, I would not want to be a member of the Milwaukee Bucks right about now, as earlier in the day we found out that shooting guard Michael Redd will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, which is exactly the way his 2008-09 season ended.
“I’m shaken,” Redd told The Associated Press. “You never expect it to happen and it happened again. Today has been a very hard day. But I’ve had incredible encouragement from my teammates. I’ll get through it.”
Redd, a career 20-point scorer, averaged 11.9 ppg this year. He will be replaced in the starting lineup by Charlie Bell, who averages 6.9 ppg. However, Milwaukee was 6-12 this year with Redd and 9-7 without him.
“He’s another guy out on the perimeter that you have to really be concerned with,” Gentry said of Redd. “In reality, though, Charlie Bell has played unbelievably well for them. He’s done a great job, so as much as they’ll miss him there’s probably some areas where Charlie’s a little more — I mean, honestly he’s a better defender, does a lot of the things like that, a lot of the dirty work. They’ll miss him, but Scott is one of those guys also that if you’re injured you’re injured, somebody else has got to step up.”
Gentry on Jennings
Needless to say Gentry has come away impressed with Milwaukee’s stud rookie. Here’s what he had to say about the almost former Arizona Wildcat:
“I just think his quickness. I think he’s got quickness like LB and Tony Parker and those guys. He’s a real confident kid. Somebody said almost to the point of being cocky, but to me you’ve got to be cocky to make it in this league, especially a young guy stepping in like he is. I think he’s refreshing in that his approach to the game is when he’s out there he’s as good as anybody out there. I think that’s the only way you can make it in this league.
“He’s got 55 points in an NBA game. Nobody else can say that this year. Doesn’t matter who it’s against. Nobody else has gotten 55 against Golden State. No one else has gotten 55, and there’s been at least 20 other teams that have played Golden State that have had a chance to get 55, so the bottom line is that he’s got more points than anybody in an NBA game this year, so that has to account for something.”
Jennings does have the 55-pointer, but he’s also scored just 57 in his last five games (11.4 ppg).
- Gentry on parity in the NBA: “I think there’s a parity in the NBA where if you don’t play at a high level night in and night out you’re going to have a chance to lose. That’s already been proven early in the year when Minnesota went into Denver and won and Orlando goes to Oklahoma City and loses by 25, we get killed at home by Memphis. There’s a lot of parity that’s in this league right now, so you have to be able to step out and be prepared to play at a high level to beat any team, really. There’s a little bit of craziness about it. The bottom line is that you have to be able to be prepared to play and be focused night in and night out.”
- The Suns plan on starting Amare Stoudemire on Mbah a Moute, Grant Hill on Ilyasova and Channing Frye on Bogut.
- Phoenix has won six straight overall against Milwaukee, who has not beaten the Suns since March 28, 2006. The Suns boast winning streaks of six or more against four different teams (Toronto, Washington, Clippers).
- The Bucks are just 4-12 away from Wisconsin.