Notebook: Bucks 98, Suns 94

Posted Jan 18, 2013 12:42 AM

By Mike Tulumello, for

THE FACTS: The last time the Milwaukee Bucks won in Arizona, the Soviet Union was intact, Ronald Reagan had nearly two years to go as president and the price of gas was 93 cents per gallon.

Finally, on Thursday night in Phoenix, the Bucks broke through. Trailing 80-72 early in the fourth quarter, they took advantage of poor ball handling by the Suns' reserves and got back in the game, then pulled away in the final minutes for a 98-94 win.

Thus ended the Suns' 24-game win streak over the Bucks in Phoenix.

"Twenty four years of frustration coming out right there for the Milwaukee Bucks," said the jubilant Bucks coach Jim Boylan.

The past few years, Bucks coaches mentioned the streak to players when visiting the Suns.

"It never seemed to work," Boylan said. This time, "I took the opposite tack.

"We did not discuss it. But the players were aware of it."

They were even more aware after Boylan -- after the game -- handed them a copy of the box score from Feb. 21, 1987, the last time the Bucks won in Phoenix.

The Bucks (20-18) are 4-2 under Boylan, who replaced Scott Skiles.

"If we'd brought Jim in in '88, we have been good," joked Mike Dunleavy, who hit a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left to give the Bucks a 94-86 lead.

More seriously, "It's an amazing record of futility."

The only current similar streak in the NBA is San Antonio's 27-game home streak over Golden State.

"I was a part of a lot of those losses [as well]," pointed out Dunleavy, who played for the Warriors for five years during this streak.

The Bucks were led by Monta Ellis, who hit 10-for-20 for 24 points, and Larry Sanders, who had 19 points and 15 boards.

The Suns, 13-28 at the halfway point, were led by Shannon Brown's 20 points.

They have lost 13 of their last 15 and 20 of their last 26.

Said Goran Dragic (10 points, four assists), ""It's tough; it's different players than in the past for the Suns. In the past, four players spread the floor and one big guy rolls or plays the low post, creating ... more spacing. With this team, we won't have this. "In the past, we were a running team. We ran a lot and scored easy layups. We don't do that any more."

QUOTABLE: "You're a little anxious. 'C'mon, clock keep going.'"
-- Jim Boylan on his thoughts in the game's final moments.

THE STAT: The Suns' 24-game home winning streak over the Bucks is no more.

TURNING POINT: Down 80-72, the Suns committed two straight turnovers leading to Bucks' layups. Moments later, Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer to tie the game, 80-80. The Suns moved back ahead 84-80 before Ellis hit two jumpers to tie it, 84-84. The game was tied, 86-86, when the Suns' Markieff Morris missed a dunk, then Sanders scored on a dunk as the Bucks took the lead for the final time. Then Dunleavy blocked a shot by Marcin Gortat, the Bucks' Brandon Jennings hit 1-for-2 from the line, Sanders blocked Gortat at the rim, then Jennings hit a runner to make it 91-86 with 1:39 left. Dunleavy's 3-pointer sealed it.

QUOTABLE II: "It's not something I would just do on my own."
-- Suns coach Alvin Gentry, on the possibility that the Suns will start going more with younger players in the near future.

The Suns coach said such discussions, which he said could happen in upcoming days, would include owner Robert Sarver and team executives. "Other things will have to be discussed also." Asked if his future would be discussed (Gentry's contract expires at this season's end), Gentry replied, "No comment."

GOOD MOVE: Boylan gave rookie John Henson 22 minutes and was rewarded with 10 points and six rebounds.

BAD MOVE: Though the Suns hadn't played in three nights, Gentry stuck with his reserves at length in the fourth quarter while the Suns fumbled away the lead.

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Michael Beasley is back in the Suns' rotation. He put up a combined 34 points and 17 boards in the previous two games but on Thursday shot just 2-for-10 for four points.

NOTABLE: The 10 starters in the last game in which the Bucks won in Phoenix (Feb. 21, 1987) were, for the Bucks: Paul Pressey and Terry Cummings at forward; Jack Sikma at center; and John Lucas and Sidney Moncrief at guard. For the Suns: Mike Sanders and Ed Pinckney at forward; Larry Nance at center; and Jay Humphries and Walter Davis at guard.

UP NEXT: For the Bucks, Saturday @ Portland, Tuesday vs. Philadelphia and Friday @ Cleveland. For the Suns, Wednesday @ Sacramento; Thursday vs. L.A. Clippers and Saturday, Jan. 26 at San Antonio.