8 key quotes: NBA-worst Suns stun league-best Bucks — again

How to explain this?

The Suns entered Monday with the worst record in the Western Conference at 13-51, and the Bucks were a league-best 48-15 atop the East.

But when their game in Phoenix got to crunch time, the Suns stifled the Bucks offense, Phoenix’s offense made big shots and the Suns defeated the Bucks — for the second time this season.

The score: Suns 114, Bucks 105.

The numbers: Kelly Oubre Jr. had 27 points and 13 rebounds, Devin Booker added 22 points and Deandre Ayton had 19 points and 12 rebounds, including a key layup with 35.8 seconds to play that gave the Suns a four-point lead. Bucks MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 for the Bucks, who have lost two straight for the first time this season. (Until Monday, the Bucks were the only team in the league that hadn’t yet lost back-to-back games.)

The explanation: The explanation? That’s harder. Let’s sift through some postgame comments, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and azcentral.com:

Suns coach Igor Kokoskov: “I think we found the grit and confidence to compete with these guys, and it as nothing but the trust of the guys have in each other and fighting till the last minute. Just finding a way to land the plane, find a way to score in crunch time in the fourth quarter was big for us. Total team effort and I’m happy for our guys.”

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer: “I think we just were sloppy at times — sloppy in transition, sloppy execution, just not as good as we need to be. We had a bad combination of not making shots and not being good enough on the defensive boards tonight.”

Ayton: “This was the No. 1 team and we wanted this win, straight up. We just wanted this one. Everybody said it was luck.”

Antetokounmpo: “It’s kind of hard to think we lost to Phoenix twice, but they played better than us. They came out there and set the tone. We had the lead and we lost the lead and they deserved to win.”

Brogdon: “You’ve got to tip your hat off to them, they play hard. I think they have more energy than us when we play them, so it results in extra shots, pushing the ball the down the court getting easy shots on us. I don’t think we take them as seriously as we should.”

Booker: “It just says a lot about this team. We’re not backing down to anybody. After the All-Star break, a lot of teams could shut it down, but we’re not. It feels like a new season for us. Kelly (Oubre) and I were just talking. We wished the season just started right now. We’re ready for every game. We’re coming at teams and we’re ready for it.” 

Oubre: “It’s a great feeling. It’s in us every game we step out on the court. We stuck with it for 48 (minutes). That’s the only difference. I’m just really happy that we came out with this one.”

Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe: “We can’t win every game. You can’t win every game. It’s basketball at the end of the day. We got to move on and go to the next one.”