Using the wide open US Airways Center floor and pushing the tempo unimpeded by any opponent, Steve Nash used 10 first quarter assists to give the Phoenix an early five-point lead and the Suns never gave it back as the hosts rolled to a lopsided 109-93 win over the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday Night.
Nash, whose 10 first quarter assists was already a season high for any opponent for a game versus the Bucks this season, set the tempo early, getting easy looks for Channing Frye (16 points), Grant Hill (14 points) and Marcin Gortat (18 points) using pick and roll as well as transition. The Suns had a five-point lead after one quarter, 10 at the half, and then Nash dropped five more assists in the third quarter, finishing with 17, as the starting five for the Suns extended the lead to 27 before coming out for the game for good midway through the quarter.
The Bucks never got into any defensive rhythm, allowing 20 fast break points and a 55.8 percent field goal percentage to the Suns. Milwaukee couldn't stop the Suns on the defensive end and didn't help themselves slow Phoenix down by their own poor shooting on the offensive end as well. Before a 10-18 mop-up fourth quarter raised it to 43 percent, the Bucks were shooting a smidge under 40 percent from the field.
The Bucks were playing without Andrew Bogut, defensive stalwart Luc Mbah a Moute and newly acquired Mike Dunleavy, but the dominance of Nash in the open floor and the lack of a capable defensive point guard to check him was the story throughout this game.
Steve von Horn at Brew Hoop summarizes that feeling of inevitability against Nash and the Suns:
When taking in Suns basketball during the Steve Nash era, the team always feels either (a) an 11-3 run from being right back in the game, or (b) an 11-3 run from putting the game away. Watching the Bucks during the Scott Skiles era makes any such offensive run feel like an utter impossibility on a nightly basis. With the score still vaguely respectable at 70-55 with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter, the Suns made that 11-3 run over the course of the next three minutes to push the margin to 81-58. By the end of the third quarter the Bucks faced a 25 point margin that could make even the most optimistic Bucks fan reach for the remote.