3 takeaways from Milwaukee Bucks’ tough loss to Phoenix Suns

Feb 10, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 10, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
Feb 10, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Everyone had last night’s game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns circled on their calendars in the months leading up to the contest. It would be their first clash since last July when the Bucks won their first NBA Championship in 50 years, but they could not rekindle some of that same magic this time around as Phoenix bested Milwaukee in this one.

After a first half that included an astounding 18 lead changes, the Suns led 64-56. The Bucks were well within striking distance, but they were once again plagued by their third-quarter woes that hit them like a truck. Phoenix carried momentum over into the fourth and never looked back as they built up a 27 point lead before securing the 131-107 victory.

It was a brutal way for the Bucks to close out their road trip, but they managed to go 3-1 over their last four matchups on the West Coast. With all that being said, let us take a closer look at three takeaways from this one.

The Phoenix Suns dominated the Milwaukee Bucks in the paint, highlighting the latter’s need for size

It was an incredibly poor shooting night from behind the arc for both teams, with the Bucks hitting just 26.3 percent of their triples while the Suns knocked down 30 percent. With both teams failing to find a groove from 3-point territory, they attacked the basket, and Phoenix won that battle with relative ease.

The Suns outscored the Bucks 68-50 in the paint last night, with a sizeable chunk of that damage coming from Deandre Ayton, who scored 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting. While one who watched last night’s game would not have been able to guess, the Bucks have been one of the best teams at protecting the paint this season by allowing just 43.2 points in the paint this season, according to NBA.com/stats. Phoenix just overpowered this typically robust paint defense from Milwaukee, and it propelled them to a massive win over the champs.

Games like this are where the Bucks miss Brook Lopez the most. Milwaukee’s man in the middle has missed all but one game this season due to back surgery, and his imposing interior presence would have been useful in a game like last night’s matchup. While there is still no word on Lopez’s possible return date, the Bucks thankfully added some size before yesterday’s trade deadline by swinging a deal for Serge Ibaka. The 6-foot-10 big man will give Milwaukee the center that they need right now to help protect the hoop, and he will help prevent what happened last night in the team’s future contests.