Milwaukee Bucks: 3 takeaways from 128-127 OT loss to Phoenix Suns

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 19 (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 19 (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: P.J. Tucker, Bobby Portis, Phoenix Suns: Deandre Ayton
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – APRIL 19 (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

P.J. Tucker gets some late-game action for the Milwaukee Bucks in loss to Suns

It was P.J. Tucker that caused the controversial whistle to send Devin Booker to the charity stripe and lose Milwaukee the game. It was certainly a questionable call, particularly given how the game had been played to that point, but it was great to see head coach Mike Budenholzer run with him late in the game.

Tucker checked in with 1:18 left in the fourth last night with the Bucks trailing 114-111. The forward held his own against Phoenix big man Deandre Ayton, ensuring that he would not score down the stretch. After sitting for nearly the first minute of the overtime, Tucker checked back in at the 4:02 mark of the OT, where he closed the entirety of the game. He played some fantastic defense in that stretch and knocked down a huge corner triple to tie the game with just over a minute left to play.

That final foul call unquestionably hurts, but it was welcoming to see Tucker out there in crunch time, nevertheless. The Bucks traded for the 35-year-old before the deadline because they knew he could strengthen their efforts on the defensive end, particularly in scenarios like these. However, the team could not run their ideal small-ball lineup when Giannis Antetokounmpo went down shortly in the overtime with cramps and did not return.

Milwaukee’s small-ball lineup with Tucker at the four and Antetokounmpo will resurface again down the road, particularly if Brook Lopez struggles to this degree again in another close contest. The big man failed to find any rhythm on either side of the floor in the game, finishing with just seven points on 3-of-8 shooting. On defense, Lopez struggled mightily to keep Deandre Ayton in check as he finished with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 13 rebounds.

In games where Lopez becomes virtually unplayable, having Tucker will be a nice option for Budenholzer to utilize.