Bucks rout Suns to snap 5-game losing streak

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PHOENIX (AP) — Milwaukee couldn’t stop Devin Booker for seven spectacular minutes. The Phoenix Suns couldn’t stop the Bucks all night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points to lead six Milwaukee players in double figures and the Bucks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 137-112 victory over the Suns on Saturday, their highest-scoring game of the season.

“I thought Giannis set the tone for us,” Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s why he’s an All-Star. He understands the moment. He set the tone early and everybody has to follow.”

Booker, whose 20-foot bank shot at the buzzer beat the Kings in Sacramento on Friday night, scored 31 points for the Suns, 27 during a blistering final 7:13 of the first half.

The Bucks, coming off a Friday night loss at Denver, shredded the Suns’ defense, shooting 63 percent while setting season highs for most points in a quarter, half and game. Milwaukee scored 74 points in the paint to the Suns’ 42.

“This is what we do. We score in the paint,” Antetokounmpo said. “We try to go to our strength as much as possible. It feels good going to your strength.”

Ex-Sun Mirza Teletovic added 19 points and Jabari Parker had 18 for the Bucks in just their second win in the last 12 games. The victory came in the final stop on a five-game road trip.

“We were just hungry to get a win,” Antetokounmpo said. “We were struggling.”

Rookie Marquese Chriss scored a career-high 27 points for Phoenix.

Booker scored 27 of the Suns’ final 33 points in the first half, including his team’s last 17 to cut what had been a 25-point Milwaukee lead to 74-66 at the break.

But the heroics ended there. Booker didn’t make another field goal, going 0 for 6 in the second half.

The Bucks methodically padded their lead in the third quarter, going up 92-76 on Parker’s breakaway dunk with 4:35 left.

Chriss’ three-point play sliced the lead to 104-92 with 10:59 to play, but Milwaukee ran off the next eight points to blow open a 112-92 advantage.

Booker, a 20-year-old second-year guard, was 9-of-11 shooting in the second quarter, including 5 of 5 on 3s.

“It’s just that zone,” Booker said. “If you play basketball long enough, a lot of people get in that zone. It would have been better if it had lasted longer, the whole game, we could have come out with a win, but we didn’t.”

Suns coach Earl Watson called Booker “a player who, during that stretch, reminded me of Kobe.”

Other than that second-quarter outburst, though, Booker was 0-for-8 shooting.

BOOK `EM

Booker’s barrage was one point shy of the franchise-record 28 he scored in the fourth quarter of a loss to Dallas in Mexico City.

Along the way, he became the youngest player to score at least 20 points in 16 consecutive games. Booker did it at 20 years, 97 days. His 16-game streak is the second-longest by any first- or second-year player in the last 20 seasons. Vince Carter had a 23-game run in 1999-2000.

TIP INS

Bucks: Milwaukee snapped a seven-game road losing streak. … The Bucks shot 77 percent (17 for 22) in the first quarter. … Milwaukee has won four of its last five in Phoenix and three straight overall against the Suns.

Suns: The 137 points were one shy of the most allowed in a game by Phoenix this season. … Before Booker’s 28- and 27-point quarters this season, the Phoenix franchise record for points in a quarter was 26 by Stephon Marbury. … The Suns’ franchise record for consecutive 20-point games is 21 by Tom Chambers.

 

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

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BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

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Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

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The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.