Milwaukee Bucks Clinch Playoff Spot With Win Over Struggling Phoenix Suns

Milwaukee Bucks Clinch Playoff Spot With Win Over Struggling Phoenix Suns

Joel Reyes
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:28 PM
  • The Milwaukee Bucks clinched a playoff spot by beating the Phoenix Suns
  • The Bucks finished strongly in the fourth quarter to record their 50th win
  • They extended their lead in the NBA's Eastern Conference to three games

The Milwaukee Bucks clinched the first 2023 NBA playoff berth with a 116-104 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo starred for the Bucks, who became the first NBA team to reach the 50-win plateau this season.

He nearly had a triple-double, finishing with 36 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists.

Deandre Ayton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks hugs Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns following the NBA game at Footprint Center on March 14 in Phoenix, Arizona. Image: Christian Petersen.
Source: Getty Images

It was a significant win for the red-hot Bucks, who extended their lead atop the Eastern Conference standings to three games. They have won 21 of their last 23 games, per ESPN.

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Bucks pull away late

The victory did not come easy for the Bucks, as the Suns made a furious rally in the second half. Phoenix sliced the deficit from nine points at half-time to just one point at the end of the third quarter following Devin Booker’s buzzer-beater.

They then took a 90-87 lead early in the fourth quarter after Cam Payne drained back-to-back 3-pointers. The Bucks did not panic, though, taking the lead for good with 6:30 remaining when Pat Connaughton buried a corner 3 for a 100-97 advantage.

The Bucks pulled away late as they finished the game on a 24-9 run. Brook Lopez also recorded a double-double, scoring 21 points and grabbing ten boards. He shot 10 of 14 from the floor.

Suns struggling without Durant

It is back to the drawing board for the Suns, who have now lost their last three games. They hold just a one-game lead over the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers for fourth place in the Western Conference.

They have struggled without Kevin Durant, who was injured before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He sprained his ankle during warmups and will be out for the next few weeks.

Giannis scores 46 vs. Kings

Sports Brief recently reported on the Bucks’ win over the Kings by 133 to 124.

Antetokounmpo scored 46 points to lead Milwaukee to victory over Sacramento.

The 'Greek Freak' scored 19 in the third quarter to put the surging Kings to bed.

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Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.
Giannis AntetokounmpoWorld