Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Game #50 • Energy Solution Arena • Salt Lake City, UT • February 6, 2013 • 7:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports RADIO: 1280 AM/97.5 FM and 1600 AM ESPN Deportes
NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 50:
Milwaukee Bucks (25-22) @ Utah Jazz (27-22)
Time to bring back Raja Bell for one more game . . .
The Jazz are finally enjoying a bunch of home games, and have responded by going 18-5 at the EnergySolutions Arena. Tonight they will host a Bucks team that's 12-12 on the road. Both 7th seeds have their distinctive strengths, Milwaukee boasts two guards who are absolutely killing it statistically: Brandon Jennings is averaging 18.6 ppg, 6.1 apg, and 3.4 rpg; and Monta Ellis is averaging 18.4 ppg, 5.5 apg, and 3.8 rpg. Both guys also average 1.9 spg. They are not natural shooters, and they are both shooting poor percentages -- but both have had very hot games against our defense before. And tonight? Our guard line is quite anemic as Mo Williams, Gordon Hayward, and Earl Watson are all out. Heck, I'm only HALF joking that we should bring Raja Bell back out of mothballs for tonight. Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye, Alec Burks (and most likely DeMarre Carroll) will have their hands full tonight.
Of course, the Jazz are not so hot on defense . . . while the Bucks are (9th best Def RTG), which is even more impressive when you add in that they play at the 6th fastest pace. If Utah is going to limit their speed and firepower we'll have to slow this baby down. The Jazz aren't slow at home, but over all are 19th fastest. (11th slowest) We're going to need to do this and pound it inside against their group. Outstanding young player Larry Sanders had to leave the game last night with a lower back and hip injury, and is probably going to sit this one out. Beyond him the Bucks have Samuel Dalembert (27 games, 15.8 mpg), Joel Przybilla (10 games, 6.0 mpg), John Henson (35 games, 13.0 mpg), Drew Gooden (11 games, 9.5 mpg), Ekpe Udoh (45 games, 18.5 mpg), Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (33 games, 24.2 mpg), and Ersan Ilyasova (45 games, 24.9 mpg) inside. They have more depth than we do at guard, but their front line without Larry Sanders is quite the motley crew.
I know I've been objectively critical of Big Al lately, but Al Jefferson should eat these jerks up. After all, he kind of owes us a good performance after his last game had him struggling to do anything against 6'6 Chuck Hayes.
Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter all need to show up too -- and mostly on defense against their speedy guards.They also have to show up on the offensive glass as Milwaukee is 28th best out of 30 at clearing their defensive glass. This has to be our point of attack and counter attack against their Sanders-less front line tonight.
Milwaukee is crazy good at not turning the ball over, and causing turn overs. We're really good at getting to the line. This will be the understated battle. Fast guards usually kill us with penetration and pick and rolls, and get to the line. We have to line the battle of the charity stripe tonight -- and we should, we're at home and have better bigs.
Historically we're 44-41 against the Bucks, but 26-17 at home. The Jazz have won the last 10 home games, and 12 of the last 14 over all. All of this info is from the great fact checkers at UtahJazz.com.
It should be a fun game if we can control the pace. Because we should be winning the rebounding battle, we should. Of course, they are fast enough to run out on us AFTER MADE baskets too. So, eep. I hope Alec Burks doesn't poop the bed, because a local Jazz media talking head pretty much became aroused at the proposition of Burks getting shown up tonight. I don't know why he hates that guy so much . . . that said, tonight isn't a situation that is favorable to our starting guards, let alone our 3rd string SG.