Bucks win 98-94 to snap 26-year drought in Phoenix
PHOENIX (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks interim coach Jim Boylan never said a word to his team about the franchise's 24-game losing streak in Phoenix.
He'll also never have to mention it again.
Mike Dunleavy hit a 3-pointer with 57.4 seconds left to cap a 10-0 run and the Bucks pulled away to beat the Suns 98-94 on Thursday night, snapping a 26-year drought in the desert.
"It wasn't like they didn't know about it," Boylan said. "In years past we tried that (talking about it) a couple of times and it didn't seem to work, so I took the opposite tack and figured I would not say a word about it.
"I did have the boxscore from the last year so we were able to throw it up there after the game and celebrate. To look at the old boxscore was interesting for them to see."
Monta Ellis scored 24 points and Larry Sanders added a career-high 19, while Dunleavy and Brandon Jennings had 16 apiece for the Bucks, who had not won in the Valley since Feb. 21, 1987, at the old Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
"I knew about it because we talked about it last year before the game but I was hoping we wouldn't talk about it this year, which we didn't," Sanders said. "I don't like to bring up the past. It's too much pressure. But I was happy we came out and broke that streak."
Milwaukee has won four of six since Boylan replaced Scott Skiles on Jan. 8.
"Lately we haven't been playing a great overall game but we hung in there and we were able to play well in the fourth quarter down the stretch," Dunleavy said.
Sanders also had a game-high 15 rebounds and blocked two shots, giving him at least one blocked shot in 25 straight games, the second-longest active streak in the NBA.
"The fourth quarter is really important," Sanders said. "You have to play D and at that point it's about possessions. Whichever team gets the most stops is going to win the game."
Shannon Brown scored 20 points off the bench and Luis Scola added 16 for the Suns, who have lost four straight at home for the first time since 2004. Phoenix has dropped 13 of 15 overall.
"We can't let them get shots, loose balls, kick out for 3s and all that," Brown said. "We can't let this discourage us. We've just got to keep playing hard and it's all going to come together."
Markieff Morris' driving layup with 3:41 remaining gave the Suns an 86-84 lead.
Ellis tied the game on a 20-foot jumper and, after Morris bounced a dunk attempt off the rim, Sanders scored on a pick-and-roll to give the Bucks the lead for good, 88-86, with 2:35 left.
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