Suns Slay The Deer, 102-88 Beating The Bucks

Another strong road win for the Suns as they survived a sluggish start to blow the short-handed Bucks away in the second half.

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Suns Beat Bucks On Third Quarter Run, Inch Closer To Playoff Spot

(Sports Network) - Their scoring has been up in recent games and the Phoenix Suns hope to stretch that trend tonight in the continuation of a season-long six-game road trip against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.

Even though the Suns are coming off Wednesday's loss in Boston, they have still reached the century mark in scoring eight consecutive times, averaging 106 ppg in that time. Aaron Brooks had a team-high 17 points and dished out seven assists for the Suns, who had a four-game winning streak stopped and lost for the third time in 11 tries.

Jared Dudley added 15 points and Marcin Gortat provided 13 points and 13 rebounds in defeat. Mickael Pietrus, Vince Carter and Grant Hill had 11 points apiece, as Phoenix fell to 3-1 on the road swing and 14-15 away from the Valley of the Sun this season. Steve Nash had eight points and seven assists.

"Obviously it's tough when you get down as big as we did," said Suns head coach Alvin Gentry, "but I thought we did a great job of fighting back."

The Suns were down by as many as 29 in the second half and will also visit Oklahoma City on the trek. They have won five of their last six road contests, while Gortat's 12 double-doubles off the bench lead the league. His 12 DD's are the most by a Suns reserve since Maurice Lucas registered a franchise-high 15 during the 1984-85 campaign.

Carter (mouth laceration) and Channing Frye (eye contusion) both left Wednesday's game and did not return after a third-quarter collision. The two are questionable tonight for a Suns team 1 1/2 games off the eighth and final postseason spot in the West.

Milwaukee will resume a four-game homestand Friday and ended a two-game skid with a 92-90 triumph over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday. Brandon Jennings had a busy night with 21 points, five rebounds and four blocks, while Carlos Delfino had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Jennings also had a block on Will Bynum's three-point attempt in the waning moments.

John Salmons, who is averaging 17.4 ppg in the past 10, scored 14 points for a Milwaukee team playing without injured center Andrew Bogut. Bogut is battling a rib injury and is expected to miss at least a week of action.

"It was a good shorthanded win," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "We were able to get stops. We played pretty hard, especially the last four or five minutes of the game."

Skiles could be shorthanded again tonight with forwards Ersan Ilyasova (concussion) and Luc Mbah a Moute (flu) both listed as questionable. The two didn't play against the Pistons. Center Earl Barron played his first game in a Bucks uniform, posting four points and a season-high nine rebounds.

Milwaukee is 1-1 on a four-game homestand and 15-14 in the Badger State. It will close out the residency Sunday versus Boston.

The Bucks dropped a 92-77 decision in Phoenix on Feb. 2, as Gortat came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 11 rebounds in that one. Phoenix has won eight of nine and 23 of the previous 27 meetings with Milwaukee. The Suns are 14-5 in their last 19 trips to Brew City.

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Phoenix Suns Schedule: Road Trip Continues In Milwaukee Vs. Bucks

The Phoenix Suns are 3-1 on their current six-game road trip with an important game tonight in Milwaukee against the depleted Bucks (23-36). Should the Suns get the expected win, they would finish the trip no worse than 4-2 with a chance at 5-1 on Monday in Oklahoma City. A four-win roadie would be a victory while five-of-six would be well above expectations. But it all starts tonight and the team will be without Vince Carter.

Now, many Suns fans will be happy to see Carter, who is still dizzy after he collided with Channing Frye's hard head on Wednesday, sitting on the bench. His effort level on defense and shooting have been inconsistent and he's failed to step into Jason Richardson's shoes as the team's leading scorer and fourth quarter go-to guy.

Mickeal Pietrus will start in Carter's place and Josh Childress could see time with the second unit unless Coach Alvin Gentry elects to play Jared Dudley extra minutes. That decision will probably depend on how well Dudley is shooting the ball.

The Bucks will be without starting center Andrew Bogut (rib muscle strain) and starting forward Ersan Illyasova (concussion). The Bucks are 4-6 over their last ten games with all four wins coming over sub-.500 teams.

The game tips at 6:30 p.m. local time on My45 TV and will be broadcast on Sports 620 radio. Fans can follow along during the game with other Suns fans at the live game thread at Bright Side of the Sun.

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