Snapping the streak: Bucks 98 – Suns 94

Milwaukee Bucks 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
94 Phoenix Suns
Larry Sanders, C 30 MIN | 8-14 FG | 3-3 FT | 15 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +8

It wouldn’t be difficult to make a case that Larry Sanders is the ultimate reason for watching Bucks games at this point. How many times has his shot-blocking been crucial to a Bucks victory? He got out of position trying to reject Goron Dragic on a drive with just under two minutes left, but when Dragic dropped it off to Marcin Gortat for what seemed like an easy layup, he recovered and blocked Gortat, leading to a Jennings scoop shot in transition that effectively put the game away.

Monta Ellis, PG 34 MIN | 10-20 FG | 4-4 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 24 PTS | +8

Hard to ask for anything more out of Ellis. He hit a couple of very difficult shots in the fourth quarter that he probably doesn’t hit with much regularity. But he made both against the Suns and that mattered a lot. Sometimes they go in.

Brandon Jennings, PG 29 MIN | 6-14 FG | 2-3 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 5 TO | 16 PTS | -3

Milwaukee’s pattern under Jim Boylan had kind of been: Win when Jennings plays great, lose when he doesn’t. Good to see them snap out of that. A pedestrian game for Jennings becomes much easier to take when Ellis is playing as well as he did though.

John Henson, PF 22 MIN | 5-12 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +3

He probably makes four to five genuinely impressive plays each game.

Mike Dunleavy, SF 31 MIN | 5-9 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +12

Another sharp shooting night from Milwaukee’s lone consistent threat from the outside. As usual, he didn’t waste a motion or dribble any more than was necessary and that helped him succeed. His three to put the Bucks up eight with just under a minute to go was the perfect curl and square up as fast as humanly possible moment I’ve seen out of him in a big situation this year. He should almost always been a first option for the Bucks late in games.

Beno Udrih, PG 20 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | +7

Anytime Marquis Daniels is playing the two and Udrih is not in the game, it’s a disappointment.

Two Things We Saw

  1. If ever there was a Suns team the Bucks were going to beat, this was the one. The long wait between Bucks wins in Phoenix wasn’t just because the Bucks were often a miserable team, it was because the Suns have almost always been good. From Barkley to Kidd to Marbury to Nash – they always seemed to have a strong star and supporting cast around him with the exception of a lean year or two. But this version of the Suns is pretty miserable.
  2. And yet, a four point win that went down to the final couple of minutes? Never easy with this group.
  3. It’s getting amazing how from quarter to quarter the Bucks can look like such a drastically different team. Has any recent squad had so many 10 point swings in the course of virtually every game they play?

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  1. These players have given the signal to agents to find another city:
    Udoh (so shy/timid!)
    Gooden, Harris, Daniels

    I wonder if management gives a list of NBA names to our guys, to check off names they’d wish to play with (for purposes of trades and chemistry and favorite cities)?

    Nothing becomes of Henson.

    It’s a pick up game now. It was too much of a pick-up team before.

    Skiles is watching the game informally, as this team should be watched. What a nightmare for Boylan. Can he resent his friend for leaving him in this situation? These guys won’t need to hear anything he has to say. Such dysfunction! Boylan encourages a quicker replacement to no avail, because no one is going to want to coach these conditions now or later. A new coach knows no one got more out of Ellis, Sanders, Jennings and Ersan than Skiles.

    Huge personnel change before next year, and a new coach to start from scratch. How can a <500 franchise sell tickets to a team that will be so young? I've never said it before, but tanking may be called for. Hence, Boylan staying for remainder of year, and multiple trades coming up soon. And they won't be veterans coming.

    Problems at the work place.

    • Your statement about multiple trades coming up soon should not come as any surprise to followers of this team. Hammond has worked hard to get out from under a lot of expensive long term contracts and the Bucks have a lot of flexibility now.

      The guys on your list that have asked their agents to explore contracts are the guys that either have no contract at end of season or have contract, but aren’t getting play time. In the words of Steve Jackson, “It’s a business”. My guess is that he’s got his agent looking for a new contract for him right now too.

      I’m excited about the young talent on this team and I’m not ready to kiss Mad Dog & Beno good bye just yet. Kiss..yes! Good-bye!

  2. Back to the game….

    The problem of being consistent is something we’re all aware of, but it’s the nature of the beast. ALL NBA games and teams go on runs of hot and cold. What I found reassuring was that the “foul trouble” of the first half was corrected in the second half. Problem..solution.

    The Suns wanted to win this game. The Bucks wanted to win this game. The Bucks stepped up with some really great play down the stretch and they deserve to feel good about this win. I feel good about this win. They CAN win the next one against Portland.

    Go Bucks!

  3. Thanks for sharing.

    In response to Patti or anyone, I wouldn’t know about contracts (everything is for sale). The above list is people who I thought wouldn’t want to stay till tomorrow. I think this is now the other players team to play like a pick-up game without a coach. The win appeared inadvertent, and good things happen around Dunleavy, so?

    The coach quit on them! Folks are hanging on by a thread. Monta played his heart out and so had Jennings, apparently for Skiles, and Skiles left them. The Warriors are playing much better without him, and Ellis is miffed about free throws and authority. There’s no way Ellis is kept for next year.

    …and Phoenix knows who they were playing, and wouldn’t accept their final four minutes of execution. “We’re not finally losing at home to Jim Boylan and Monta Ellis. Or we are better off coachless too.”