Phoenix Suns 116, Milwaukee Bucks 100 – Scouting fail

PHOENIX – It could be concerning that the Suns allowed the league’s worst team in terms of offensive ratings and second-worst field goal shooting team (42 percent) to hit 54.4 percent and score 100 points. It’s not great Phoenix needed help in the form of 36 points off 26 turnovers.

Yet, when all was said and done in the 116-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, Phoenix hits a five-game road swing with momentum and a cautious reminder that while it’s arrived, it’s still a vulnerable team when not playing to its strengths.

Offensively, the Suns did play to their strengths, and Milwaukee had little resistance.

Gerald Green and Channing Frye scored 24 and 22 points respectively, with the former having two breakaway windmill dunks to go with four three-pointers and the latter pumping in six triples. How poorly did the Bucks defend Frye? The power forward posted a mind-blowing +44 plus-minus for the game.

To the pregame questions.

What makes the Greek Freak so special?

Giannis Antetokounmpo was far from special on Saturday. It all started in the first quarter, when P.J. Tucker took advantage of Antetokounmpo’s length by stripping him while the forward brought the ball up for a jumper. The second half began with Antetokounmpo stifling Tucker off a screen and nearly getting an elbow to the chin as Tucker brought the ball across his body. Four minutes later, the Greek rookie earned a technical for throwing the ball at a referee after Milwaukee called a timeout.

So yeah, it was not a pretty game for the lanky rookie — not unexpected for a young player to get frustrated against a pest like Tucker, obviously. Antetokounmpo went scoreless and had four turnovers.

How do the minutes work out at guard?

Unlike Thursday’s game against Memphis, the Suns made sure to dive into the bench depth a little more without Eric Bledsoe, who will be out a week with a sprained knee before being reevaluated. Rookie Archie Goodwin came off the bench first, and Hornacek went to Ish Smith for a good while thereafter.

Smith engineered a 9-0 that took a testy 91-84 lead to 100-84 in the fourth quarter. He finished with eight points and as many assists in 19 important minutes. Meanwhile, Goran Dragic scored 15 points and added six assists in just 29 minutes.

Will Phoenix throw the first punch?

Of all the players that could help the Suns get off to hot start, P.J. Tucker probably had the best shot. He must have thought the same, because the small forward seemed set on making an impact. He scored eight of the first 15 points for Phoenix as it took a 15-9 lead halfway through the first quarter, forcing Larry Drew to pull 19-year-old Antetokounmpo for Khris Middleton.

The Suns built a lead as great as 11 yet floundered once the bench unit came in. The same thing happened in the third quarter, when the Suns went ahead by as many as 23 yet allowed O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight to gut their way to a nine-point deficit by the fourth quarter.

  • Al

    This guy named Kevin Love missed 3 FT’s in crunch time against OKC that cost his team the game. He is not clutch. I bet Suns can get him for a couple of picks. (2nd rounders maybe) ;)
    BTW…Frye’s too streaky…

  • Chris

    If only we would be so lucky. He is a very good player, I wish but doubt we can get him for so cheap.

  • Voqar

    Not a bad game but against a team that bad, playing that bad, I’d prefer to see them extend and hold a 20 point lead, not lapse and let a washed up former and nearly immobile not-s0-star player (Butler) help shoot them back into the game.

    Suns still need to improve on pummeling opponents when they have them down, like EJ was saying (granted EJ rambles incessantly and amusingly and has a comment for everything).

  • Luka

    This looked like an all-star game out there. The Bucks are just pitiful. Obviously the Suns were just toying around with their opponent.

    The best parts of the game definitely were the several picked off passes by Green resulting in some incredible windmill dunks. But outside of that there’s nothing much left to say. It was a boring game because it felt like I was watching a scrimmage.

    The commentary by Albert and EJ was brought up, and incessant rambling is right. These guys never shut up. I know people didn’t like Leander but he at least had stats pertaining to the game on hand. Steve Albert just doesn’t sound knowledgeable and EJ explains the obvious time and again. Can someone please explain again why we can’t get Al McCoy back for at least the road games?