Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
Phoenix at Milwaukee
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, January 22, 2018
Where: BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Bucks are struggling of late and dropped four of their last five games, with all four losses coming against potential playoff teams. The Bucks get a bit of a break in the schedule with two straight at home against sub-.500 teams, beginning with a visit from the Phoenix Suns on Monday.

Making the task tougher for Milwaukee is the absence of superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sat out Saturday's 116-94 loss at Philadelphia and will miss Monday's contest due to knee soreness. Antetokounmpo, who leads the Bucks in scoring (28.2 points), rebounds (10.1) and assists (4.6) while shooting 54.6 percent from the floor, will get eight full days to recover with the team not scheduled to play again until Friday, when the Brooklyn Nets visit. Milwaukee will try to lean on shooting guard Khris Middleton as well as point guard Eric Bledsoe, who is taking on his former team Monday for the second time since he asked for and was granted a trade in November. Bledsoe's departure left Devin Booker as the unquestioned leader of the Phoenix offense, and he poured in 30 points as the Suns snapped a three-game slide with a 108-100 win at Denver on Friday.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FS Arizona (Phoenix), FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

ABOUT THE SUNS (17-29): Booker, who averages 25.3 points, slumped to 15 on 5-of-16 shooting in a loss to Indiana on Jan. 14 but picked it back up when the team hit the road, pouring in 43 points in a loss at Portland on Tuesday before netting 30 at Denver. Booker got some scoring help at the Nuggets from TJ Warren (back), who returned from a two-game absence and added 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting. Warren is averaging 19.8 points and boosted that number by going over 20 points in nine of his last 11 contests.

ABOUT THE BUCKS (23-22): Middleton took over Antetokounmpo's do-everything nature on Saturday and recorded his first career triple-double with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. "With Giannis out, guys have to step out, so I tried to do a little bit more creating tonight, playing a lot more aggressive with the ball in my hands," Middleton told reporters. "When Giannis comes back, I've got to find a way to keep it going -- keep the ball moving, keep getting stops, keep running up and down. He's a great player, so adding him back with Jabari (Parker), with Malcolm (Brogdon) we're a dangerous team. We've just got to win ballgames now." Bledsoe was held to 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting Saturday but had no trouble in his first meeting with his former team, when he led the way with 30 points and seven assists in a 113-107 win at Phoenix on Nov. 22.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Bledsoe recorded five steals on Saturday -- the fourth time in the last seven games that he recorded at least four thefts.

2. Phoenix PG Tyler Ulis is 3-of-22 from 3-point range over his last six games.

3. Brogdon (personal) sat out Saturday and it is unclear if he will be ready to return Monday.

PREDICTION: Bucks 115, Suns 108
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Phoenix 17-29 W1 8-16 9-13 0-2 17-27 3-5 11-17
Milwaukee 23-22 L2 14-9 9-13 2-1 21-21 4-6 11-16
Last Meeting
Phoenix Milwaukee
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/22/17 MIL 113 PHO 107 107 60 39.8 113 42 43.3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Phoenix D. Booker 23 33.3 5
Milwaukee K. Middleton 40 53.8 9
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Phoenix G. Monroe 15 8 7
Milwaukee K. Middleton 9 1 8
Assists Player  
Phoenix T. Ulis 5
Milwaukee E. Bledsoe 7
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Phoenix D. Booker 911 44.3 203
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 1207 54.8 311
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Phoenix T. Chandler 343 110 233
Milwaukee G. Antetokounmpo 428 98 330
Assists Player  
Phoenix T. Ulis 190
Milwaukee K. Middleton 202
Quickchart Matchup
Phoenix Phoenix Off vs  Milwaukee Milwaukee Defense
Phoenix Off vs Milwaukee - Points For 105.5 Points For
Phoenix Off vs Milwaukee - Points Against 106.1 Points Against
Phoenix - FG% 44.4 FG%
Milwaukee - FG% 47.2 FG%
Phoenix - Reb 44.7 Reb
Milwaukee - Reb 41.8 Reb
Milwaukee Milwaukee Off vs  Phoenix Phoenix Defense
Milwaukee Off vs Phoenix - Points For 104.7 Points For
Milwaukee Off vs Phoenix - Points Against 112.2 Points Against
Milwaukee - FG% 47.8 FG%
Phoenix - FG% 46.8 FG%
Milwaukee - Reb 38.6 Reb
Phoenix - Reb 45.1 Reb