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Utah Jazz 96, Milwaukee Bucks 87: Your Trusty Recap of the Game Tonight

There was a sporting match tonight. Let's talk about it.

Why the long face, Enes?
Why the long face, Enes?
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma capitalized on early Alabama mistakes to win the Allstate Sugar Bowl tonight with a score of 45-31 behind the strong arm of Trevor Knight and his 4 touchdown passes.  The loss by Alabama was the first in the last 5 bowl game appearances and the game made one wonder if Saban is able to adequately prepare his team for non championship bowl games.  Oklahoma came in...

What?  This is supposed to be a basketball recap?  My bad.  Hold on.

The Running Utes let a golden opportunity slip by tonight with a costly turnover leading to the game winning layup against the Oregon Ducks in overtime tonight.  The loss is a disappointing one for the surprising Utes who dropped just their second game of the season to the undefeated Ducks.

Hold on.  I'm being informed that I have the wrong game again.  Let me just shuffle through these sheets my soon to be former intern prepared for me.  Ah, here we are.

In a battle of the two worst records in the NBA, the Utah Jazz were able to hold off the Milwaukee Bucks in Salt Lake City 96-87 in a balanced attack, lead by 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 steals by Derrick Favors.

Keys to the Game

The Jazz created their first big lead with an unusual lineup of Diante Garrett, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Jeremy Evans, and Enes Kanter that had never played together before tonight.  In the second quarter this unit built a 12 point lead that the Jazz would never fully relinquish again.  Enes Kanter had 7 points and 5 rebounds in the second quarter and Garrett chipped in 7 points in the quarter as well, but the story was Gordon Hayward who finished the first half with 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting from the field and 3 of 4 made three pointers.  Hayward has been a good spot up three point shooter in his career, and each of his makes were off a teammate's creation. This season he has shot poorly on spot up threes (30%), but tonight may be a turning point for him.  We will just move on without mentioning the airballed 3 in the second half.

Bullets Dodged

This game really came down to Milwaukee's missed three point shots.  The Jazz connected on 7 of 16 three point attempts, but the Bucks only made 4 of 22, including a meaningless three at the final buzzer by Giannis Antetokounmpo.  The Bucks certainly forced a few bad 3 pointers and the Jazz defended the 3 pointer at times, but for the most part, the Bucks just missed open looks.  On the year the Bucks shoot 34% from behind the arc as a team, and an average shooting performance would have proven the difference in the game this evening.

While I don't think the Jazz ever considered him a free agent option, another bullet dodged is certainly OJ Mayo, who was one of the most popular free agent wings this summer.  Mayo was less than pedestrian scoring 4 points on 2 of 7 shooting in 18 minutes tonight.  He's been about as productive as Richard Jefferson this season.  Yikes.

Matchup of the game

It was fun to see Larry Sanders and Derrick Favors go head to head tonight.  Favors was the 3rd pick in the 2010 nba draft and Sanders was taken at 15.  They both have defensive tools, although Sanders has certainly demonstrated his better thus far in their careers, and they both signed handsome extensions this offseason.  It will be fun to watch and compare their growth this season.  Sanders, recently back from injury, had 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks on 7 of 7 shooting from the field.  Favors had more stats, but Sanders' efficiency probably makes their matchup a statistical wash, although the Jazz get the statistical "W."

What They'll Be Talking About on Twitter

There's no doubt that many Jazz fans will see tonight's win as a wasted opportunity to make up ground and become the worst team in the NBA.  The Bucks currently hold the worst record in the NBA with the Jazz trailing behind and for some, the goal of this season is to get the top pick in the 2014 draft.  But consider this:  In the last 10 drafts, the worst team in the NBA has only received the top pick one time (Dwight Howard in 2004).  In fact the 3rd and 5th worst teams are the only ones to win the top pick more than once in the last 10 drafts.  So let's shoot for that.  Point being, it is a lottery and nothing is guaranteed.

Bottom Line

It was a good win and it was good to see Kanter, Hayward and Favors play well.  The offense down the stretch looked discombobulated which is really becoming a theme of this season.  Teams are starting to guard the Burke and Favors pick and roll more effectively and we can only count on Trey Burke 22 footers so many times to bail us out in key possessions.  But a win is a win is a win.  Unless you were hoping for a loss.  In that case a win is a loss.

Next Up

Tomorrow night at the Lakers.  For your viewing pleasure to prepare you for that: