The Utah Jazz game into this game needing a win to salvage an "oh - for" road trip, and that is precisely what they got by downing the Milwaukee Bucks. Both teams were without key rotation players (MIL: Larry Sanders, Jabari Parker, Kendall Marshall; UTA: Derrick Favors, Alec Burks, Rodney Hood), and both held double digit leads at times. Ultimately, though, the Jazz got it done from outside (going 14-31, 45.2%) which helped. A team does not usually win a game on the road when they turn the ball over 22 times. That is precisely what the jazz did tonight, though.
Utah was up by +10 after the first quarter, and a big part of that was Dante Exum bombing from deep. The 26-16 lead diminished as the turn overs started to pile on in the second quarter. Milwaukee would take advantage and O.J. Mayo started to get hot as they scored 31 points in the second. Still, the Jazz went into the break up 53 to 47.
This season the Jazz had been a very solid third quarter club. Tonight they got clubbed, sloppy play, poor defense, and an inability to prevent Brandon Knight, Mayo, and Jared Dudley from doing things turned the tables on this game. Milwaukee led 79 - 76 going into the fourth.
The game was exciting and back and forth throughout the end. Utah came back, re-took the lead, and were up 99-91, before the Bucks pushed back and made me go crazy because I had jinxed the team on twitter. Alas, the good guys won, and it was a great victor for this young squad.
Milwaukee, before this game, was an above .500 team in the East. And the Jazz took it to them on their own court and won. Dante Exum shot really well, Joe Ingles did his point forward thing, and Trey Burke did not grumble off the bench -- but it was really Gordon Hayward who took control down the stretch. He scored or assisted on eight straight points during a key stretch of this game.
Of course, we're not in this game without the efforts of our bigmen.
- Dante Exum: 15 points (5/10 from downtown), 5 assists (3 TO)
- Joe Ingles: 6 points (2/3 from downtown), 4 rebounds, 7 assists (3 TO), 2 steals
- Gordon Hayward: 24 points (2/4 from downtown, 10/12 from the line), 6 rebounds, 6 assists (6 TO), 2 steals
- Enes Kanter: 23 points (8/15, 1/2, 6/6), 16 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block
- Rudy Gobert: 14 points (5/7, 4/6), 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, numerous blocks not counted
- Trey Burke: 10 points (4/11 shooting), 2 rebounds, 2 assists (3 TO)
Trevor Booker and Elijah Millsap also played, as Quin Snyder only went eight deep tonight, but aside from some Booker rebounds, and their general defense, they didn't hit enough threes to be counted (only went 2/5 . . . sheesh, 40%, what scrubs!).
Great win. Needed this win. And the team is getting better every game, even without two starters and a key bench player.
The Jazz play next on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets in Utah.