The Utah Jazz started off strong against the Milwaukee Bucks, but soon enough these two young teams played like young teams and combined for 45 total turn overs in a low scoring slugfest of inexperience, length, energy, and steals (31 in total). The Jazz were dominating early with the speed, size, and athleticism of Rudy Gobert who would finish the first quarter with 7 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks. In the second both teams turned up their defense, and the game became quicker and sloppier. Utah was still up at the half 47-40, but the Bucks kept playing their fast, frenetic style on defense and I believe our guys underestimated their length. Utah was well into the quarter and had scored only four points before Trey Burke took the team on his back and started to dictate the pace and play of this game.
It's good in small doses, and Head coach Quin Snyder started him at half over the young and probably tired Dante Exum. Trey actually has big game experience and is a proven leader. When his shot was falling he was hard to stop, and tonight his shot was falling.He spear headed a 7-1 run to finish the quarter, and kept the Jazz from going into the fourth quarter behind the visiting team.
Still, it was only 58-55 after three quarters. Both teams were tired, undisciplined, and playing sloppy basketball. Yet it was the second night of a back to back for both teams, and also the third game in four nights as well -- but veteran clubs can take better care of the ball; and play more focused ball when physically tired. This is something these two teams (both with average ages of 23) need to figure out.
The fourth quarter was punctuated by solid multiple effort plays on both sides of the ball. Players were diving to the floor, hustling back on defense, and making that extra effort to win this game. Jason Kidd didn't do anything crazy, but guys like Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Ersan Ilyasova were doing enough to make the Jazz work for this win.
Down the stretch Derrick Favors took over. He was dunking all over the other team, and finishing off good passes from guys liek Trey and others. But with less than two minutes left he absolutely did everything right to secure the win. He got an offensive rebound in traffic, gathered himself, and scored with Bucks all over him. Then he blocked Michael Carter-Williams one on one while retreating backwards. A play or two later he got the defensive rebound to end all guesswork.
In a game where Gordon Hayward couldn't get going it was nice to see the team ride the efforts of some other players. Gobert started, Burke sustained, and Favors ended the game.
- Derrick Favors: 37 mins, 16 pts, 12 reb, 3 stl, 3 blk
- Gordon Hayward: 37 mins, 14 pts, 2 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl
- Rudy Gobert: 32 mins, 12 pts, 10 reb, 2 stl, 3 blk
- Trey Burke: 36 mins, 23 pts (5/10 from three, 2/2 from the line), 3 reb, 6 ast (1 TO), 1 stl
- Trevor Booker: 27 mins, 12 pts, 6 reb, 2 stl, 1 blk
- Elijah Millsap: 26 mins, 3 pts, 7 reb, 1 ast, 5 stl
- Everyone else (Joe Ingles, Dante Exum, Rodney Hood): pretty poor performance
Well done, Jazz. You went 6-5 in February, and finished with a positive +/- as well. The Jazz start a four game road trip on Tuesday (@Grizzlies, @Celitcs, @76ers @Nets). It should be fun! Let's go forward in March! Let's Go Jazz!