The Utah Jazz (8-11) look to improve to 8-5 at home as they face off against the Milwaukee Bucks (9-8). Milwaukee has hit a bit of a rough patch over their last 3 games going 1-2; their only win came against Phoenix where Overtime was required. The Utah Jazz are looking to get back into a groove at home after a dominant win against the Chicago Bulls the day before Thanksgiving.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is probable for tonight’s game after fighting soreness in his knee. Giannis has been on an MVP campaign averaging 29.7 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks a game. Giannis is realizing his potential and the Utah Jazz should count themselves lucky that he’s a bit hobbled.
Milwaukee is probably the only team that can match Utah in terms of injuries. Jabari Parker, Giannis, Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson, Gary Payton II, and Mirza Teletovic have all lost time due to injuries. Might as well call the Bucks the Jazz of the West.
The Utah Jazz since losing Rudy Gobert have been struggling on the defensive end (save for a couple games against the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic) and will face a challenge when they face Giannis. Giannis is a beast off the dribble when he goes for the paint. Derrick Favors and Ekpe Udoh will have their hands full.
When: November 25, 2017
Where: Vivint SmartHome Arena
TV: ATT SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Radio: 1280 and 97.5 The Zone
Giannis Antetokounmpo - Probable - Knee
Matthew Dellavedova - Questionable - Left Knee Tendinitis
John Henson - Questionable - Eye
Jabari Parker- OUT - Knee
Gary Payton II - Questionable - Ankle
Mirza Teletovic - OUT - Knee
C Rudy Gobert – OUT (Knee) 4-5 weeks
SF/PF Joe Johnson – OUT (Wrist) 1-2 weeks
PG Dante Exum – OUT (Shoulder) Indefinite
What To Watch For
Just sit back and enjoy the show. Giannis—who is the biggest what if in the Jazz’s 2013 Draft—will probably put on a show tonight, taking full advantage of a Rudy Gobert-less paint. Joe Ingles will be the unfortunate soul who gets to guard the Greek Freak. Joe Ingles who can bother smaller wings with his length and patience will not have the same advantage over the athletic wunderkind who is Antetokounmpo.
Rodney Hood, Royce O’Neal, and Thabo Sefolosha will also see time guarding Giannis. Thabo will probably see a lot more minutes tonight as he has the frame, athleticism and defensive prowess to slow down the MVP candidate.
This is the battle of possible trade targets the Jazz could have had when they were looking to replace George Hill in the offseason. While Ricky Rubio was Gordon Hayward’s choice (look how that turned out), Eric Bledsoe would have been the better fit in a Gordon Hayward and Dante Exum-less present ... but enough about what if’s. What about the present?
Rubio has been struggling over the past 10 games. It seems to be every game that we’re asking ourselves, “Is this the game that turns Rubio’s bad streak around?” Rubio had a better game against the hapless Bulls with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block, but you’d expect a good game against the Bulls. Can Ricky be a help not a detriment tonight against the Bucks and the much more physical Eric Bledsoe? We’ll see
Most Likely Jazz Killer: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Don’t have to overthink this one. The Jazz have struggled with interior defense since the loss of Rudy Gobert. Giannis is a wrecking ball while going to the paint. This could be a rough night for Utah. Derrick Favors and Ekpe Udoh will have to put in Gobert-ian nights to hold back the Greek Freak. It is possible. The Utah Jazz play much better at home and Giannis could still be feeling the effects of knee soreness as he sat out last game trying to heal up.