Eric Bledsoe makes his return to Phoenix and is unsure of the reception he will receive when the Milwaukee Bucks visit the Suns on Wednesday. The 27-year-old Bledsoe was banished by the Suns and fined $10,000 by the NBA when he tweeted “I Dont wanna be here” on Oct. 22 and was traded to the Bucks two-plus weeks later.
Bledsoe declined to take any shots at the Phoenix organization on the eve of the game - after spending four-plus seasons with the team - and said his focus is on continuing to fit in with the Bucks. “Everybody knew what happened, the situation that went down,” Bledsoe told reporters. “I just got to come out and play my game and don’t worry about nothing else.” Milwaukee won its first four games after Bledsoe took the court but arrives in Phoenix on the heels of back-to-back defeats. Phoenix has recorded consecutive victories and averaged 117 points over its last three contests.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Wisconsin (Milwaukee), FSN Arizona (Phoenix)
ABOUT THE BUCKS (8-8): Milwaukee will be heavily shorthanded against the Suns after center John Henson underwent an eye procedure and forward Mirza Teletovic had arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday. The Bucks are hopeful Henson will return for Saturday’s road game against the Utah Jazz but Teletovic will be sidelined for at least four weeks. The backcourt also is missing a key figure as backup guard Matthew Dellavedova (knee) will sit out his fourth consecutive game.
ABOUT THE SUNS (7-11): Center Greg Monroe was acquired from the Bucks in the Bledsoe deal and is averaging 12 points and six rebounds in three games for Phoenix. “He’s a great player,” Milwaukee swingman Khris Middleton told reporters of Monroe. “He’s going to come out to win with a little extra motivation that we traded him for Eric. We can’t worry about him too much. We have to worry about getting a win.” Suns star guard Devin Booker, a close friend of Bledsoe, has already recorded seven 30-point performances while averaging 23.
1. The Bucks have won the past four meetings and five of the last six.
2. Phoenix SF TJ Warren scored 27 points in Sunday’s 113-105 victory over the Chicago Bulls and has recorded 20 or more points in five of the past eight games.
3. Milwaukee star SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, who ranks second in the NBA in scoring (29.7), has topped 20 points in 15 of 16 games.
PREDICTION: Bucks 113, Suns 109