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.

 

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

Associated Press
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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.