Suns try to end slide vs. Bucks

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns have slid under .500, but they'll have a chance to draw their record even Monday night when the Milwaukee Bucks pay a visit to the desert.

The Suns have dropped five in a row, including two straight at home. One of those home setbacks came against the lowly Detroit Pistons, who snapped a 13- game losing streak.

On Sunday, the Suns couldn't handle the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder and fell, 112-88. While it's still incredibly early, that matchup featured Phoenix's primary competition for the eighth playoff seed in the Western Conference. OKC is just a half-game back and has erased a 5 1/2 deficit in a little under two weeks since Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook returned from injuries.

That pair combined for 51 points in the victory.

"They took it to us," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.

Gerald Green tallied 15 points and seven boards to lead Phoenix. Eric Bledsoe added 12 points, followed by 11 from rookie Tyler Ennis, mostly in mop-up duty late.

Marcus Morris chipped in 10 off the bench.

Goran Dragic sat out the Oklahoma City game with a lower back strain he suffered in Friday night's loss to the Pistons. The team is hopeful he can return on Monday.

The Bucks begin a four-game western swing on Monday with matchups against the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers lurking before Christmas.

Milwaukee ended a two-game skid just before departing Brew City thanks to a 111-106 victory over the Clippers on Saturday.

The Bucks had to sweat out a late video review, but emerged victorious.

Milwaukee's 12-point lead with 4 1/2 minutes to play was trimmed to five following a 7-0 Clippers run.

The Bucks held a narrow lead the rest of the way, but Jamal Crawford stepped into a deep 3-pointer with three seconds remaining to make things interesting. His heave made it a three-point game, and Knight's ensuing inbounds pass was deflected out of bounds.

Referees went to the video monitor to determine if the ball hit Milwaukee's Brandon Knight before landing, but the Bucks were ultimately rewarded the ball. Knight made two free throws to seal the outcome.

Knight scored 22 points to lead the Bucks, while Giannis Antetokounmpo donated 20 points and Larry Sanders had 15 with nine boards for Milwaukee, which had lost five of six coming in. Khris Middleton scored 14 for the Bucks.

"They are well coached and they are talented," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said of the Clippers. "They play to the end. For our group, we play to the end. Looking at it as a whole, guys gave great effort."

The Suns have won six of the last eight meetings and are 13-3 since the 2006-07 season against the Bucks. Phoenix is a staggering 25-1 in its last 26 as the host in this series. Milwaukee's victory on Jan. 17, 2013 halted a 24- game road losing streak versus the Suns, which dated back to 1987.