The Phoenix Suns got 20 points from Cliff Robinson and 19 from Tom Gugliotta in a 110-92 rout of the trade-depleted Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.
The Bucks lost their fourth straight game since trading away their best offensive player (Terrell Brandon) and best defender (Tyrone Hill) last week for Sam Cassell, who has bone chips in his right ankle and won't play for another week or two, and several others who either are hurt or aren't helping.
With Vinny Del Negro again trying to run the offense at the point and nobody consistently setting picks and doing the dirty work that Hill used to, the Bucks were quickly outclassed, falling behind 33-15 after one quarter and 63-36 after two. They got no closer than 16 in the second half.
Gugliotta's 4-of-4 shooting sparked a first-quarter mismatch in which the Suns outshot the Bucks 65 percent to 37 percent and outrebounded them 14-4, quickly quieting the crowd that half-filled the Bradley Center.
The crowd, though, got nasty when the Bucks fell behind 50-24 with 5:41 left in the first half and booed them as they left the court at halftime.
It was the loudest jeers yet for the Bucks under first-year coach George Karl, who replaced Chris Ford and had the team 12-5 a week ago, primed to end their seven-year playoff drought.
But neither Hill nor Brandon wanted to be here, so Karl gave his blessing to the trade that sent them both packing.
"We didn't have the puzzle together with Tyrone and Terrell," Karl said before the game. "Now, we've got these other pieces and they're not even close to playing together. "
Pieces is a good word for the Bucks right now, who have fallen apart without a true point guard, no rebounding and too much ad-libbing on offense.
Ray Allen, who scored a season-high 29 against New York on Monday night, took just three shots in the firt half and missed them all. He finished with 10.
Dell Curry led the Bucks with 18 points, followed by Tim Thomas, acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers last week, with 17.
- Suns center Luc Longley sat out again with a bruised left hip.
- Phoenix has won 15 of its last 16 games with the Bucks.
- The Bucks had just 11 rebounds in the first half.
- Before the trading deadline, Milwaukee lost by double digits just once, 87-76 to Philadelphia on Feb. 28. The Bucks have lost two of their last three by double-digit margins. Before the trades, they hadn't allowed 100 points. They've now given up 100-plus three times in four games -- and 98 points the other time.
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