The Bucks nixed their quarter-century long losing streak in Phoenix.
In the fourth quarter, Milwaukee blocked six shots, and Monta Ellis made all four of his field goal attempts to help Milwaukee turn a five-point deficit into a 98-94 win.
Larry Sanders owned the paint during his 30 minutes in the game. In addition to scoring 19 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and blocking two shots, he kept Suns center Marcin Gortat from creating any offense when he was defending him.
Mike Dunleavy made four of his five three-point attempts (and blocked three shots!), helping the Bucks score on a night when the rest of the offense combined to hit just two three-pointers.
Ellis and Brandon Jennings moved the ball up and down the court at an incredible rate to start the game. The brisk pace enabled the duo to score a combined 18 points on 16 shots in the first quarter. (The Bucks has 27 shots in the quarter.) In particular, Ellis made one highlight-worthy play when he hit Jennings in stride with a full-court outlet pass. The Bucks flipped their usual trend by finding a double-digit lead instead of a double-digit deficit.
The second quarter saw the two teams combine for a discombobulating 18 fouls. It was hurtful to the eyes. The Phoenix big men got into serious foul trouble: by the final few minutes of the quarter, Gortat had three fouls, Jermaine O’Neal had three, and power forward Markieff Morris had four. But the Bucks fouled too, and worse, gave up a lot more free throw attempts. Milwaukee made just four of eight free throws, while the Suns feasted in the quarter by making 12 of 15 shots at the line.
The low point came when Drew Gooden committed a loose ball foul on the offensive end with 0.7 seconds left in the half. The two free throws gave Phoenix an improbable three-point halftime lead. But using Gooden for the final 87 seconds of the half did protect the other Bucks bigs from foul trouble, a move that paid off when their aggressive interior defense held the Suns to less than 30% from the field (7/24 FG) in the fourth quarter.
John Henson also contributed 22 useful minutes. He scored ten points and nabbed six rebounds, while exhibiting soft touch and nimble footwork the paint. It probably helped him that Phoenix has one of the least athletic frontcourts in the league — slowing down the game to the point where the rookie could see the game played at a speed he could process.
A few tweets
— Michael Grahl (@mikegrahl) January 18, 2013
For the next one, I prefer the term ‘productively long’. Henson was using them to full benefit last night.
Something I just noticed: John Henson’s arms are weirdly long.
— Stephen Coston (@NBA247OFFICIAL) January 18, 2013
Don’t know which was worse for Gortat: having Larry Sanders block shot or catching pass in the first place w/ his face.
— Steve Aschburner (@AschNBA) January 18, 2013