Time: 6 p.m. MST
TV: FSAThe Milwaukee Bucks enter tonight’s contest with an 8-36 record, the worst in basketball and a good three games behind the next best team. To be blunt, there are no excuses Wednesday for the Phoenix Suns not to remain perfect on this road trip. The Bucks are 1-13 since the calendar flipped to 2014 and have given up 100 points or more in 10 of those games. Defense has been non-existent and the offense has not been much better, scoring less than 87 points in three of the Bucks’ last four games.
The Suns need to continue playing the way they have the last six quarters of the past two games. In those six quarters, they have outscored the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers 180-142 and have done that by simply playing their style of basketball.
The Suns cannot give in to the temptation of looking ahead to the Pacers on Thursday night. They need to take care of business like a playoff-caliber team would. Here are some questions I have as we get ready for tonight’s game.
How do the Suns start?
You can easily stick a fork in a team with an 8-36 record if you jump them early. The last thing the Suns want to do is come out like they did in Cleveland and let the Bucks think they have a chance to win the game because if that happens, they’ll probably be in a battle for the night. If the Suns can jump the Bucks early a la the 76ers game, I doubt the Bucks will put up much of a fight. Hornacek will be able to rest some guys for Indiana in the fourth quarter.
Does Marcus Morris make a dent in the stat sheet?
Markieff Morris is back to playing the aggressive type of basketball that won him a Player of the Week award in November. His brother, however, has struggled mightily this month and is a non-factor when he is out there. Tonight is the perfect opportunity for him to get some mojo off the bench in a game that could see him get extended minutes if it gets ugly. Morris has had three rebounds or less in seven of his last eight and has scored 20 points combined in his last four. The Suns need him to get going and tonight is the perfect night for that.
Does Giannis Antetokounmpo contribute more the second time around, and does he score a point?
The 19-year-old rookie has a high ceiling in this league and is already starting and playing big minutes in his first NBA season. Against the Suns on Jan. 4, he started and went scoreless with three rebounds in 14 minutes thanks to P.J. Tucker’s physical defense. Antetokounmpo has had many games like that, but he has also had games like he did against Oklahoma City, when he scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He is a wildcard in the Bucks lineup and it is key that the Suns don’t let him bring anything to the table tonight.