Phoenix Suns lose sixth straight after Bucks’ Middleton hits buzzer-beater: By the Numbers

Dec 16, 2014, 5:27 AM | Updated: 7:51 am

The ball just isn’t bouncing the Phoenix Suns’ way lately. Literally.

Phoenix held a lead over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday for a vast majority of the game, but the Suns weren’t able to dominate the second half like they did the first.

Milwaukee worked its way back into the game and eventually took a late lead. It was anybody’s game as the lead went back and forth down the stretch, particularly in the final minute.

Phoenix’s Markieff Morris made two big shots in the last 30 seconds, but Milwaukee had the last possession, down one with 3.5 seconds on the clock.

Khris Middleton banked in an off-balance, turnaround three-pointer, and the Bucks escaped with a 96-94 win at US Airways Center.

The Suns lost their sixth-straight game and fell to 12-14 on the season, while Milwaukee went above .500 at 13-12, which places them sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Here’s a look at the Suns’ heartbreaking loss, by the numbers:


Middleton’s clutch basket was the second buzzer-beating three to beat the Suns in their six-game losing streak; Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers was responsible for the other one exactly one week ago.


The Suns do not do well when they fail to reach 100 points, and Monday’s result was no exception. Phoenix is now just 2-9 when falling short of the century mark this season; four of those losses have been during the current six-game slide.


Miles Plumlee began the contest on the bench while Alex Len became the eighth Sun to start a game this season. Len fouled out in 19 minutes, after posting six points, six rebounds, three blocks and a steal. Plumlee also played 19 minutes and recorded four points and three rebounds.


With the loss, Phoenix fell out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The Suns are just percentage points ahead of Oklahoma City and Sacramento for the ninth spot, while New Orleans is the new No. 8 with an 11-12 record.


Bucks backup center Zaza Paculia went wild on the Suns in the fourth quarter; he scored eight straight points for Milwaukee during one stretch, helping the visitors pull ahead of Phoenix. The 12-year veteran’s 13 points on the night were one shy of his season high. He also grabbed five rebounds and stole the ball once in 29 minutes of action.


Gerald Green made a crucial three-pointer down the stretch, but it was a rough shooting night for him overall. Green started in place of Goran Dragic for the second-straight game and launched a season-high 15 three-pointers, only making two of them. The swingman finished with 12 points on 3-of-18 shooting (16.7 percent). On the positive side, he grabbed a season-high eight rebounds and also had three assists, three steals and a block.


Morris started out hot and had 19 points by the half. The rest of the Suns’ starting lineup had a combined 20 by that point. Morris finished with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting in just under 37 minutes. The power forward also contributed seven rebounds and three assists, although he did turn the ball over six times.


Isaiah Thomas started slowly but came alive in the fourth quarter, and he ended up having his best game since coming back from an ankle injury. At one point in the fourth period, he scored 11 straight points for the Suns, including three three-pointers. The 5-foot-9 point guard finished with 20 points, two assists and one steal while shooting 6-for-12 from the field in 26 minutes off the bench.


Phoenix was overly reliant on threes in yet another loss. The club took more than 30 three-pointers for the fifth game in a row, and just like in the previous two losses, the Suns didn’t make a good percentage of them. On Monday, they made just 12-of-38 long-range attempts (31.6 percent). Milwaukee took fewer long bombs and was much more efficient (8-for-16, 50 percent).


The loss was especially heartbreaking considering the Suns never trailed for the first 44 minutes and 37 seconds of the contest, and they had a double-digit lead for most of the first half.


The Suns were absolutely destroyed in points in the paint by a 50-24 margin. Milwaukee also won the fast-break points category 19-6.

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