The Utah Jazz (5-3) will close out a two-game home stand Friday when they host the Milwaukee Bucks (6-2) and superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. Utah should have the rest advantage in this game, having only played one game and not traveled since Sunday. The Bucks, on the other hand, are in the midst of a four-game Western Conference road trip. Four of their last five games have been on the road, but despite that, Milwaukee comes into this one riding a four-game win streak.
During that streak they have a 10-point win over the reigning champ Toronto Raptors, a 28-point drubbing of the hot-start Minnesota Timberwolves and a 5-point victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in LA. The Bucks were among the Eastern Conference favorites entering the season; they’ve looked the part.
The Jazz will be at a significant size disadvantage in this one. Milwaukee has a pair of literal twin seven footers in Brook and Robin Lopez. Giannis at 6-foot-11 inches will have the size advantage over any Utah power forward. How Utah handles the size of the Bucks will be a key to this contest.
Milwaukee also has a trio of former Jazz men on their roster, all having decent years. George Hill is fourth on the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game and is shooting 60% from 3. Kyle Korver is shooting 49% from 3 (in other news, water is wet) in just 16.6 minutes per game. Wesley Matthews is fifth on the Bucks in minutes per game at 23.5 and has keyed some big-time moments early in the season despite underwhelming in the box score.
When: Friday, November 8, 2019 • 7:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to watch for
Renewed focus on the boards
After back-to-back losses keyed by a lack of effort on the defensive glass, the Jazz flipped the script on Wednesday, outworking the 76ers on the boards to the tune of 50-42. Utah secured 14 offensive rebounds to Philly’s 7. The contributions came from all around. Bojan Bogdanovic and Jeff Green each grabbed 6. Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell combined for 6 offensive boards.
The Jazz will need to maintain that all-around effort tonight. The good news is the offensive glass doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Bucks, as they sit at just 18.4 ORB%, 27th in the league. At 16.3%, the Jazz are still dead last. Prior to the two-game slump, Utah was among the league’s best on the defensive boards. That holds true now, 5th in the league at 80.7% DRB%, but Milwaukee is even better, 3rd at 81.8%. This game might come down to which team puts in that effort on the offensive glass, cashing in those second chance points that will be hard to come by tonight.
Big minutes for key players
The injuries to Utah’s bench are requiring huge minutes from the Jazz starters. Ed Davis is out and will remain out for a significant time with a broken leg. That means any non-Rudy Gobert minutes at center will most likely be filled by Tony Bradley. Rudy played 36 minutes against the 76ers before fouling out.
Emmanuel Mudiay remains out with what’s being called hamstring tightness and Dante Exum, despite rumors he would return for this game, has also been ruled out. That leaves the Jazz point guard position in dire straits. Mike Conley played 34 minutes against Philadelphia and Donovan Mitchell, working overtime covering for the point guard injuries, played 35.
Expect more of the same if Utah is to be competitive against the powerhouse Bucks.
Game Thread Ground Rules
Welcome to the SLC Dunk Game Thread.
Dunkers know how this thing works, but for you lurkers ready to make the jump to Dunker, we have a few guidelines. Remember to follow our community guidelines (no swearing, trolling, excessive use of Jerry Sloan’s name in vain, no personal attacks, no debates about Utah liquor laws, etc.). Remember to have fun. Anyone who dare blasphemes that Tim Duncan was a Power Forward (this means you, Pounding the Rock), Ben Simmons can hit threes, Gordon Hayward should not be booed, Exum Island isn’t a 5-Star resort, Donovan Mitchell is Monta Ellis 2.0, men should never cry, or John Stockton is not the best point guard of all-time will receive an automatic ban. Just kidding. But seriously.