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Suns try to extend mastery over Bucks in Phoenix

The last time the Milwaukee Bucks won a game in Phoenix, their starting lineup consisted of Sidney Moncrief, Paul Pressey, Jack Sikma, Terry Cummings and John Lucas.

Walter Davis led the Suns in scoring that night with 27 points and Alvan Adams came off the bench to contribute 12, but it wasn’t enough as Milwaukee, coached by Don Nelson, triumphed 115-107 on February 21, 1987 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Since then, the annual trip to the Valley of the Sun has ended in a loss for the group of players wearing green and red (or green and purple for an unfortunate stretch in the 90s).

A streak of dominance such as a 24-game winning streak like this one is rare in any sport. Does Gentry mention it to his players as a point of pride?

“No, no, no, no, no,” he said. “It took 1969 years to get on the moon. Everybody has some kind of streaks. It’s not the same team and we’re not the same team. I don’t see the relevance in it at all, really.”

Milwaukee comes into the game with a new outlook as Jim Boylan replaced Scott Skiles as head coach last week. The Bucks have gone 3-2 since the move — a stretch which started with a 108-99 win over the Suns in Milwaukee January 8. The stop in Phoenix will be Milwaukee’s third on a four-game road trip that concludes in Portland Saturday.

The Suns are trying to bounce back from a loss to Oklahoma City Monday night and have lost 12 of their last 14 to fall into last place in the Western Conference at 13-27.

Jared Dudley, who has missed the last two games with a wrist injury, will be back in the starting lineup with Shannon Brown moving back to the bench.

According to Gentry, point guard Goran Dragic (ankle) and Jermaine O’Neal (back) are both available for action Thursday night.