Game in Review: Milwaukee Bucks @ Utah Jazz – February 5

Feb 5, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dribbles toward the basket as Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) defends during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 5, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dribbles toward the basket as Utah Jazz guard Rodney Hood (5) defends during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports /

In their final road game before the All-Star Break, the Milwaukee Bucks keep the dumpster fire going with a mediocre showing against the Utah Jazz.

Starting Lineups – Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe

Utah Jazz: Raul Neto, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert

In many ways, the Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks are mirror images of one another: Both have very young, yet very promising cores, both aren’t exactly touted as free agent destinations, both have experienced eras of fantastic success, both are hoping that their young rosters will carry them to plenty of competitive post-seasons in the future.

While both have also struggled to make the jump many predicted would be in store before the year got going, the Jazz can at least hang their hat on their current 8th seed standing in the Western Conference.

They actually rank top-10 in offensive rating (106.1) and top-15 in defensive rating (104.7), though one of the biggest issues holding them back might just be their slow-it-way-down style, a fact which should benefit an equally slow-moving Milwaukee Bucks team.

Much like the sun inevitably rising each morning in the East, the Bucks decided to run their offense almost exclusively in the paint where the grabbed their first eight points. Giannis did this to start the game, and it was filthy:

Some foul trouble for Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo made a glacially-paced first quarter feel even more slowed down, and it fell largely on the shoulders of Jerryd Bayless off the bench to create.

Luckily, the grinding Jazz aren’t ones to put together big leads in a hurry, and a final possession three by Bayless would put the Bucks up after one, 19-18.

For whatever reason, the Bucks picked up their shooting percentages in a big way in the second primarily on the back of a very warm Bayless from distance. He, somehow, was an astounding five for six from three on his way to a 15 point and three rebound night.

In a refreshing change, the bench unit did a fantastic job of making the most of their opportunities carrying the team with a lineup that’s normally reserved for garbage time minutes.

Getting even passable contributions from the reserves has been outside the capabilities of the team for most of the year, so their performance went a long way to keeping the Bucks afloat.

A properly horrendous stretch right before the half saw the Jazz rocket right back into things, only to be down behind by slim margins with Milwaukee leading 44-40.

Both sides had acute difficulty scoring with any sense of regularity (43.6 field goal percentage for Milwaukee, 35.9 field goal percentage for Utah), but a big difference was Jerryd’s distance shooting to kick off the second.

While the Bucks, mainly Giannis and Khris, strung some success together on the offensive end, the Jazz were never all that shook and actually appeared to have zero issues at all slamming it home on multiple occasions.

Unfortunately, Michael Carter-Williams compounded problems by creating offense for the Jazz with regularity thanks to botched passes and possessions.

To make matters worse, Utah began moving the ball at a scary rate often swinging out of an alright look to a wide-open corner three attempt.

Miles Plumlee interestingly had a particularly solid night. That is, until he decided to throw down a forearm shiver to the back of Jazz guard Joe Ingles‘s head. He would be ejected with a flagrant-2 at the 1:19 mark in the third. #RIPPlumlord.

Utah would shortly thereafter regain the lead (Milwaukee’s lead wasn’t particularly rock solid at any point), and would go into the third up on the Bucks, 61-60. What an offensive tire-fire.

The final quarter was highlighted, as is often the case, by essentially a slugfest to see who would be able to deliver the final body-blow of the night to break things open. Utah looked primed to steal away with a Hayward three, but Giannis came right back to answer with a (beautiful) three of his own.

Immediately afterwards, Monroe got a tough shot to go in once more to grab the reins.

Of course, a slight quickening of the pace and defense of the Jabari Parker fashion kept shooting lanes wide open for Utah, and they took advantage. A few more poor possessions with Middleton as the ball handler and distributor would seal the night in frustrating fashion and in the same vein as this entire trip.

The Bucks crash and burn in hilariously painful fashion, 81-84.

84. 118. 81. 89. Final

The Bucks finally get a chance to return home to redeem themselves of this trip as they host the Boston Celtics… *gulp*