Phoenix Suns race to win over Milwaukee Bucks: By the numbers
The Phoenix Suns scored 62 half for the third time in a row, dating back to Monday’s contest in Philadelphia, and they didn’t let up from there, finishing with a 126-117 win Wednesday over the Milwaukee Bucks. Despite outshooting Milwaukee by more than 11 percentage points, Phoenix could never quite put the lowly Bucks away.
However, Milwaukee (8-37) never led in the game, and the Suns raced to their third road win in a row — leading up to Thursday’s matchup against the NBA-leading Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Here’s a look at the Suns-Bucks Wednesday contest by the numbers:
Point guard Goran Dragic put up several impressive numbers — 30 points, 4-of-5 3-pointers, 8-of-8 free throws and six assists — but it was a rare dunk on a third quarter breakaway that was perhaps most surprising.
Backup point guard Ish Smith is becoming a master of the driving bank shot. The 6-footer made three shots of the sort Wednesday, all closely contested. His last one beat the third period buzzer and put the Suns up by seven going into the final quarter of play.
Foul trouble plagued Markieff Morris Wednesday night. He only played five minutes in the first half due to his three fouls; he did not score a point in that time. He got more playing time in the second half and finished with 13 points and five fouls. He only grabbed one rebound in his 22 minutes.
The Suns gave away the ball 20 times in their previous game, but did a better job of it in the first half Wednesday, only turning it over six times. They didn’t hold onto the ball as well in the second half, and finished with 15 turnovers, part of the reason Milwaukee was able to stay in the game. The Bucks scored 20 points on fast breaks, and they only gave the ball away nine times.
With the win, Phoenix put a half-game between itself and the Golden State Warriors for the sixth-best record in the Western Conference. If the season ended Wednesday night, the Suns would play Portland in the first round of the playoffs.
Bucks forward Caron Butler, who was a Sun briefly in the summer before getting traded to Milwaukee, had a strong game last time when the two teams last met, but finished with five rebounds and nine points on just 3-of-9 shooting in 27 minutes Wednesday.
Both teams were stellar from the free throw line, only missing two apiece in 68 combined attempts. Bucks guard Brandon Knight was the top shooter of the night from the line, going 11-for-11. Knight finished with 24 points and eight assists.
Starting guard Gerald Green, coming off a season-high 30 points, had a quiet first half Wednesday, but came alive in the third quarter, scoring 14 points and hitting four 3-pointers. Green finished with 23 points to go with three assists and two steals. On another note, in the third quarter, the 6-foot-8 swingman picked up his fourth technical foul of the year.
With his brother sidelined most of the first half due to foul trouble, Marcus Morris stepped up and poured in 12 points before the break. He finished with 16 points, four assists, four rebounds and one steal while making two out of five 3-pointers. The 6-foot-9 forward broke a four-game slide during which he failed to reach double-figures in scoring.
Rookie Alex Len saw a season-high 22 minutes against the Bucks, including significant playing time in the fourth quarter. The 7-foot-1 center finished with seven points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
Phoenix finished the game shooting 53.8 percent from the field — its second-straight game of higher than 50 percent. The Bucks, meanwhile, were able to hang around despite shooting 42.7 percent from the floor. Milwaukee attempted 11 more shots than the Suns did.
Phoenix moved to 27-18 with the win, meaning the team has won 60 percent of its games thus far.
The Suns scored 62 points in the first half — the third straight time they’ve done that, dating back to Monday’s game against the 76ers. They kept their streak of 60-or-more points in a half going by scoring 64 in the second half in Milwaukee. Their 126 points marked a new season high.
Counting Monday’s high-scoring win over Philadelphia and Sunday’s comeback win against Cleveland, the Suns have continuously held a lead or been tied with their opponents for nearly 97 minutes of game time — 96 minutes, 45 seconds to be exact.