After being projected to be NBA doormats this season, the surprising Phoenix Suns got win No. 20 Saturday night, rolling to a 116-100 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at the US Airways Center.
Guard Gerald Green shot 9-for-14 for 24 points to lead the Suns. Forward Channing Frye, who shot 6-for-9 on 3-pointers, added 22 points plus seven rebounds and two blocks.
"We wanted to have this kind of game, to be up by 15 or 20 in the fourth quarter," said Suns guard Goran Dragic (15 points, six assists and just one turnover), pointing to their upcoming 5-game road trip.
The Suns will play five games in seven nights.
Against the Bucks, the Suns hit 12-for-27 on 3-pointers while limiting their turnovers to 11.
Guard Brandon Knight led the Bucks (7-26) with 25 points on 8-for-12 shooting. Guard O.J. Mayo had 20 points off the bench, while forward Caron Butler had 16 points in a reserve role.
The Suns (20-12) got the win despite missing guard Eric Bledsoe, out with a sprained knee for the second straight game. He has missed eight of the Suns 32 games.
The Bucks killed themselves with 26 turnovers.
Several were long cross-court passes that were easily intercepted by the Suns. Green came up with five of them and turned them all into fast-break dunks -- four himself, two of which were the windmill variety.
"He did a great job of shooting the gap, getting the steals and putting the highlights up there," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.
"It was kind of easy for me," said Green, whose five steals were a career high.
"My teammates were pressuring the ball-handlers. There were lazy passes. I was able to use my athleticism to make the steals."
Frye, noting the Suns gave up 54 percent shooting to the Bucks, said, "I don't think we played that great. ... But we're letting our defense dictate our offense. We do that by pressuring the ball-handllers."
Phoenix used a 12-0 run early in the second quarter to open up a 40-28 lead. And when Green came up with a steal and punctuated it with a windmill slam, then -- moments later -- hit a 3-pointer, the Suns had a 58-38 lead.
The Bucks battled back, trimming the margin to 11 (60-49) at halftime after a 3-pointer by Knight, who scored 14 in the first half.
The Suns quickly restored the big lead. A steal and slam by Green and a fast-break layup by Dragic helped the Suns build a 74-53 lead with 7:49 left in the third quarter.
With the win, the Suns improved to 20-1 all-time vs. the Bucks in their current arena.
Knight recorded his seventh 20-plus-point game of the season for the Bucks.
"We had over 20 turnovers on the road," Knight said. "That makes it real tough to win when you're just giving up points and giving up dunks.
"It's a lack of focus, a lack of screening, a lack of getting open."
NOTES: G Eric Bledsoe previously missed six games with a bruised shin. Entering the game, the Suns were 3-4 without him. The Suns are hoping he doesn't miss their entire five-game trip that starts Tuesday in Chicago. ... The Bucks continue to play without F John Henson (sprained ankle) and C Zaza Pachulia (broken foot). ... The Bucks broke a 24-game losing streak -- one of the longest NBA losing streaks of its kind -- in Phoenix last Jan. 17. Suns coach Alvin Gentry lost his job afterward. ... Saturday's game featured the NBA's two youngest players and only two teenagers: Suns G Archie Goodwin (19 years, 140 days) and Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo (19 years, 29 days). ... Bucks coach Larry Drew on G Goran Dragic, who put up a career-high 33 points Thursday at home vs. Memphis: "He's a little bit of a Steve Nash and a little bit of a Manu Ginobili. He probes like Nash, and he gets to the basket like Ginobili. ... His relentless attack in transition, getting to the basket, just knowing how to draw fouls. He has really blossomed into a great point guard."