The last time the Utah Jazz and the Milwaukee Bucks met it was the beginning of an 11-game winning streak for the Jazz and with that began the journey to the best record in the NBA. It’s been just over a month since that matchup and who would have guessed at that time that the Jazz would be considered championship contenders along with the Bucks at this time but here we are, a Friday night matchup between two NBA heavyweights who could very well see each other in the Finals later this year.
The Bucks are coming off a disheartening loss to the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, losing at the buzzer by way of a Chris Paul dagger. The loss snapped a five game win streak for the Bucks who are in the midst of six game road trip and are probably a little bit road weary at this point. Giannis Antetokounmpo dropped 47 on the Suns and is averaging 28.8 point per game in the last six games and is starting to round into the MVP form that we have come to know over the last few years. The Bucks will be without star guard Jrue Holiday tonight as he is out due to NBA health and safety Protocols.
The Utah Jazz are coming off an impressive victory against the Boston Celtics where Donovan Mitchell put on an MVP like performance of his own and carried the Jazz across the finish line. Since the much publicized comments by Shaquille O’Neale stating that Donovan Mitchell can only score(funny thing to say since that is the point of basketball) it seems like Donovan has been on a mission to prove otherwise. Not that Donovan was playing poorly before but since Shaq told him point blank that he doesn’t have what it takes to carry a team he has upped his assist per game to over 5 and has upped his focus and intensity just a little bit more. Of course, I don’t think Donovan and the rest of the team need any motivation from Shaq. This team truly has the look of a contender because they play like they know they can win each and every time they step on the floor. They will need to bring that A game again tonight in order to keep the win streak alive, especially with Mike Conley being ruled out with hamstring tightness.
As is usually the case when these two teams meet this game should not lack for entertainment. Even though the Jazz are the hottest team in the league right now, this is still a good measuring stick for them and a pretty big test to prove that their victory last month wasn’t a fluke.
When: Friday, February 12th, 2021 7:00 PM MST (9:00 PM ET)
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone, WFNI-FM/AM
What to watch for
Can Donovan Mitchell keep up his impressive playmaking?
Donovan Mitchell, since Mike Conley has sat out with a tight hamstring, has been fantastic in the lead guard spot making plays for his teammates. Can he keep it up against on of the best teams in the league?
Because Jrue Holiday will likely be out because of Covid protocols it will make Mitchell’s life a little easier. Be even with Holiday out, the Bucks will make Mitchell the focus of their defense in some way and Mitchell will need to navigate that.
If the last few games are any indication, it shouldn’t be much trouble for Mitchell who has been fantastic in Conley’s absence.