Fresh off of reclaiming a .500 record, the Utah Jazz (20-20) continue their Eastern Conference road swing tonight, traveling to face the Milwaukee Bucks (27-11). The Bucks, currently the No. 2 seed in the East, are having a remarkable season with an 18-4 record on their home court.
If the Jazz want to get over that .500 hump it’s going to take a much better effort than they’ve displayed to begin the games in Cleveland and Detroit. You can overcome a bad start against bad teams, but a 31-13 first quarter in Milwaukee will bury you.
While the Bucks are healthy, the Jazz will be missing a couple of pieces. Dante Exum’s unfortunate injury timing continued Saturday as he turned an ankle just as he was starting to make a tremendous impact on the court. In just eight minutes before the injury against the Pistons, he had scored four points and dished out five assists with no turnovers. Thabo Sefolosha hasn’t played a big role for Utah, averaging just 11 minutes per game in 26 appearances, but he is shooting 46 percent from 3.
When: 6:00 p.m. MT • Monday, January 7th, 2019
Where: Fiserv Forum · Milwaukee, WI
TV: NBA League Pass / AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM
Dante Exum - OUT (Ankle)
Thabo Sefolosha - OUT (Hamstring)
Grayson Allen - OUT (Ankle)
What to watch for
Giannis Antetokounmpo is having a tremendous season as he gets closer to realizing his full potential. The Greek Freak is leading the Bucks in most statistical categories, including 26.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists on a 60.2 effective field goal percentage. He’s still not a threat from long range, shooting just 17.6 percent from behind the arc, but he is shooting 2.4 3s per game. Needless to say, he’ll be a handful.
Momentum for Donovan?
Donovan Mitchell’s struggles this season have been well documented. Perhaps he started putting some of that behind him, though, with his second half in Detroit. In what was certainly a sight for sore eyes, Mitchell looked like last year’s version after a 2 point half, scoring 24 in the third and fourth quarters, including a dagger 3 point shot to put the game out of reach.
Obviously, we need more of that and less of the 2-point halves. Donovan thanked a heckling Pistons fan in the corner for awakening his killer instinct. Let’s hope it was a change of a more permanent nature.
️ “YOU DID THIS. IT'S YOUR FAULT.”@spidadmitchell dropped 24 second-half points and ICED the game! (via @BleacherReport) pic.twitter.com/YecFAcQzob— SLAM (@SLAMonline) January 6, 2019