Game in Review: Milwaukee Bucks v. Utah Jazz – March 20

Mar 20, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) and Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) reach for the loose ball during the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 20, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward (20) and Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson (31) reach for the loose ball during the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Utah Jazz had zero troubles breaking the Milwaukee Bucks defensive scheme on Sunday night as they shot their way to a relatively easy second-half victory.

Starting Lineups – Milwaukee Bucks: Jerryd Bayless, Khris MiddletonGiannis AntetokounmpoJabari ParkerGreg Monroe

Utah Jazz: Shelvin Mack, Rodney Hood, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert

The Utah Jazz are doing their best to try to make a final push to the playoffs on the backs of a strong core of young players. Unfortunately for them, the Milwaukee Bucks had been outperforming recent expectations and looked ready heading into this evening to play the role of spoiler.

It was going to be interesting to see whether coach Jason Kidd would decide to run once more heavily with his bench unit like he did in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies. With Rashad Vaughn heading down to the D-League, it was safe to assume we’d be seeing more of Damien Inglis and Tyler Ennis on the floor.

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A point of contention between the two sides emerged early on in how each team attempted to account for mismatch potential thanks to the presence of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Rudy Gobert. While Milwaukee put Giannis on Gobert defensively, it was obvious that the 7’1″ Frenchman’s presence forced Greg Monroe to remain a few feet away from the basket when shooting.

Jared Cunningham got his first burn in the duration of his 10-day contract for a blistering four seconds at the end of the first and would go on to stick around with the subs to start the second. While he didn’t get a chance to do a ton on offense (due mostly to Jabari Parker’s being on the floor), he showed flashes of high energy defensively in closeouts and keeping stuck to his man. We’ll have to see if he gets more minutes over the next week or so to get a better evaluation.

Even with Rudy Gobert on the floor, ball movement led to some clear paths to the basket like on this Jabari poster:

Great dunks aside, the disparity in three-point shooting between Utah and Milwaukee didn’t look too great even at the half break with Utah having attempted 19 (damn near always open) threes compared to Milwaukee’s paltry four. The quality looks Utah kept getting would end up being a problem if they started shooting at any better than their ~32% of the first 24 minutes.

Giannis did his best to make his mark in every facet of the game hitting a couple of beautiful long twos and making a difference with superb interior defense against driving guards who should theoretically have a step on him:

The Bucks would answer every Jazz bucket tick for tack and with plenty of clean cuts at the basket. While it wasn’t a very pretty first half, it was a near even one as the Jazz went in only up one, 42-41.

A grinding third quarter wasn’t what one would deem the most eye-pleasing piece of basketball ever played, but the stop-start flow due mostly to fouls and some ugly inside play by both teams. Part of the issue for the Bucks may have been the insistence on throwing double teams at the ball handler away from the basket, opening things up for Utah to find a guy near the rim forcing the Bucks to foul or give up the easy shot.

Defensive scheme issues or otherwise, the Jazz began to pull themselves away, and Milwaukee would go into the final 12 minutes down

Key to Milwaukee’s troubles? That widening three-point attempt difference which grew to 25 shots for Utah and a whopping six for Milwaukee. Would that prove to be the critical difference down the stretch?

A sign of the time surely was the decidedly mixed group of subs Kidd went with to start the fourth in an attempt to out-energize the Jazz to get things somewhat close once more. Unfortunately for those guys, a flurry of back-to-back-to-back Joe Ingles threes appeared to finally break Milwaukee’s back with roughly nine minutes remaining.

From there on out, it was pretty much ugly-basketball city for Milwaukee who struggled to put any sort of stop to an unopposed Utah offense, though at least some guys put up pretty stat lines, right? Giannis would end the night with 12 points, seven assists and four rebounds; Jabari had 19 points, eight rebounds and two assists; and Tyler Ennis put together another efficient night distributing with five points, six assists and two rebounds in 20 minutes.

Besides that, though, it wasn’t a pretty evening, and the Bucks were dispatched tonight, 85-94.

Oh, and the Jazz’s final three-point tally? 13-37. 37 attempts… Woof.

94. 118. 85. 89. Final

The Bucks will turnaround with speed tomorrow evening as they head across Lake Michigan tonight to take on the Detroit Pistons.