NBA

Bucks look for reset against struggling Suns

MILWAUKEE -- So much for momentum.

The Milwaukee Bucks closed out the first half of the season on a high note, winning three straight games, but failed to come out of the break strong enough to keep that streak going Friday against Utah.

Now, they'll try to get back on track Sunday when the Phoenix Suns come to town for a matinee at the Bradley Center.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points with 12 rebounds and five steals in a 109-95 loss to the Jazz. Michael Beasley scored 22 with six boards, but those were the only two players to score in double figures for the Bucks, who shot 44 percent with 15 turnovers.

The Bucks will need more than just those two in order to regain their winning ways, head coach Jason Kidd said.

"He comes out and competes every night," Kidd said of the Bucks' All-Star. "Him and Beas were the only ones out there playing tonight. We've got to get the rest of the guys involved; they've got to join the party. The rest of his teammates didn't show."

Unlike the Bucks, who are still chasing down a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Suns, who have lost 11 of their last 14 games and sit last in the West, will spend the final 25 games trying to decide just what pieces they have in place on their roster.

"If you look at where we are salary-wise, not only next year but going forward, and the cap space we have, we're under no pressure or no obligation to do deals for financial reasons or try to create more cap space or move players out," Suns general manager Ryan McDonough told the Arizona Republic.

"We want to do deals that help us win or position us well in the future. The move with P.J. (Tucker was) more of a forward-looking move to gain a few assets in the form of second-round picks that could help us down the line."

Head coach Earl Watson will need to find a way to move forward without Tucker, a defensive standout who was dealt to the Toronto Raptors prior to Thursday's trade deadline.

"We know it's not going to come from one guy," Phoenix's Devin Booker said. "No one guy can replace what P.J. brought to the game. He showed the intensity. He showed it through vocal leadership and communication. He did all the dirty work that a lot of people won't do. We're all going to have to take it up a notch."

Phoenix shot 50 percent from the floor in its 128-101 overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday, marking the first time the Suns have done so in consecutive games since Dec. 31-Jan 2, 2015-16.

The Suns have dropped three in a row to the Bucks -- who cruised to a 137-112 victory earlier this season in Phoenix -- but have won 14 of the last 21 games against Milwaukee and 40 of the last 52 meetings.