The Utah Jazz (31-19) defeated the Milwaukee Bucks (21-27) tonight, 104-88. It was a thorough blowout after a competitive first quarter, but sadly for them, ended up being Milwaukee’s fourth loss in a row, and ninth in ten games. Of course, they play in the East so they’re probably going to be a playoff team regardless of this current “Bucks season” that they are struggling with. For the Jazz, as of this writing, they are tied for 4th place in the West. (Clippers are up on the Suns 109-105 with fewer than four minutes to play.)
Early on in this game Rudy Gobert got into foul trouble, and both teams were looking a little lost — their first games since Saturday. But Utah stuck with their game plan, even after Rodney Hood got hurt (again), they passed the ball, found the open man, and consistently probed the defense all night long. On the other side of the court, non-All-Star Rudy Gobert continued to be a menace.
If you didn’t see this game, and have a way to watch it, I recommend doing so. There were lots of dunks for both teams, both teams shot a combined 20/52 from outside, and there were 86 points in the paint. Thon Maker looked like every inch the interesting prospect he is. Jabari Parker looked way more athletic and dangerous than we’ve every expected. And the Jazz defense held Giannis Antetokounmpo to 2/10 shooting - but he did have a ridiculous dunk early.
Tonight it really was all that Jazz, though. Joe Johnson, Joe Ingles, and Alec Burks all came off the bench to cause havoc on offense and defense. Trey Lyles also looked alive, which is great on a night where the Jazz are without Derrick Favors from the start, and Rodney Hood after 8 minutes.
Gordon Hayward looked simply amazing. Against a team like the Bucks, against another All-Star in Giannis, he really took over this game on offense. It’s what we wanted to see (but didn’t) against the Nuggets and Grizzlies. I guess he was just tired? His running mate George Hill looked great in transition and Boris Diaw is becoming very effective at running Quin Snyder’s offense.
This was a fun game. The fun continues on Saturday, as the Jazz host the Charlotte Hornets. That will be the team’s fourth game of this extended home stand (four games 10 nights).