After opening a four-game trip with victories over two teams near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the Phoenix Suns now hope to handle the worst team in the East before facing its best.
The Suns can match a season high with their third straight road victory by handing the lowly Bucks a fourth consecutive loss Wednesday night.
One night after rallying from an 18-point halftime deficit to beat Cleveland, Phoenix (26-18) led wire-to-wire in a 124-113 victory over Philadelphia on Monday. Gerald Green scored a season-high 30 as the Suns shot 53.8 percent to surpass their win total from 2012-13 and match a season high for points against the last-place team in the Atlantic Division.
"We were just trying to pick up where we left off in the second half (at Cleveland)," said Green, who totaled 20 points in the previous two games. "We just told ourselves, we wanted to start off quicker than we have the last few games."
Winners of four of five, the Suns blocked a season-high 12 shots and overcame 20 turnovers by forcing the 76ers into 21.
"Sometimes the guys come out and they’re tired or don’t have the energy," said coach Jeff Hornacek, whose team is 11-11 on the road. "We had a lot of energy."
Before facing Indiana to conclude the trip Thursday, Hornacek hopes the energy level remains high for another favorable matchup. Milwaukee (8-36) has the league’s worst record and has averaged 83.7 points in dropping three straight by a margin of 22.6 per game.
The Suns avoided a third consecutive loss in this series with a 116-100 home victory Jan. 4. Green scored 24 and Channing Frye added 22 as Phoenix overcame Milwaukee’s season-high 54.4 percent shooting effort by scoring 38 points off 26 turnovers.
Frye scored seven at Philadelphia, but he’s averaged 17.2 points in his last five against the Bucks.
Despite falling 108-99 at the Bradley Center last season, the Suns have won 16 of 22 at Milwaukee.
The Bucks dropped to 4-17 at home with a 114-86 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. Though Milwaukee showed more energy two nights after coach Larry Drew challenged his players’ lackadaisical effort during a 112-87 home defeat to Atlanta, the Bucks shot 38.2 percent and couldn’t recover from the Clippers’ 21-2 second-quarter run.
"We can look at this and feel sorry for ourselves, but we’re still doing something we enjoy doing," Drew said. "It’s not a fun time, but there are certainly worse situations to be in. I will do all I can to roll up my sleeves and get the guys ready for our next game."
Ersan Ilyasova had a team-high 16 points for the Bucks, who hope to have the underachieving O.J. Mayo and Larry Sanders back after illness kept both out of the lineup for the second time in less than a week.
Mayo, the Bucks’ most notable offseason acquisition, has totaled 25 points on 10-of-35 shooting in his last six games. However, he shot 7 of 11 and hit all but one of his five 3-point attempts while scoring 20 at Phoenix this month.
Brandon Knight had 25 points Jan. 4, but the Bucks’ leader at 15.8 points per game was held to nine and 3-of-12 shooting while missing all five 3s on Monday.