Milwaukee Bucks: 3 keys to victory when hosting Utah Jazz

Nov 8, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports)
Nov 8, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports) /
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MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 25: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 25: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks will search for their fourth straight victory when they host the Utah Jazz Friday night at Fiserv Forum.

The Milwaukee Bucks will look to continue their winning ways when they host the Utah Jazz Friday night at Fiserv Forum.

Milwaukee will enter the night on a three-game winning streak following their comfortable victories over both the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons. Now at 5-3 on the season, the Bucks have clearly benefited from their first homestand of the season.

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Meanwhile, the Jazz come into Milwaukee on quite the skid after losing by 44 points to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night and collapsing over the second half of their 112-110 defeat to the New York Knicks Wednesday night.

Now at 4-4 on the season, Utah is looking to play the part of spoiler as they meet with the Bucks for the first time this 2020-21 season.

Let’s break down the three biggest keys to a Bucks victory when they host the Utah Jazz Friday night.

First key – Milwaukee Bucks limit Utah’s explosive backcourt

Between All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell and veteran floor general Mike Conley, the Bucks will have their hands full in trying to slow down the Jazz’s starry backcourt.

Conley has pushed past his poor start upon arriving to Utah last season by seemingly finding his groove as he’s averaging 17.4 points per game while shooting 40.7 percent from three and dishing out 5.1 assists per game. Mitchell, meanwhile, has gotten off to ghastly start to the 20-21 season as he’s averaging a team-leading 21.3 points per game, but on .379/.324/.774 shooting splits over 33.6 minutes per game.

Given that both are the Jazz’s biggest shot creators in the starting lineup, how Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer goes about divvying up who guards who and at which times could affect how the game goes along for Milwaukee.

It’s safe to say that new Bucks guard Jrue Holiday will get plenty of looks at both Conley and Mitchell over the course of the game. Holiday’s defensive versatility and stout on-ball defense is certainly All-Defensive caliber in the handful of games we’ve seen him in a Bucks uniform, but Holiday can only guard one player at a time.

That puts an extra onus on third-year guard Donte DiVincenzo in being able to handle taking on assignments to guard either Conley and/or Mitchell, especially should the game get tight. The lion’s share of DiVincenzo’s defensive brilliance has come off the ball where his athleticism and uncanny anticipation skills has been unleashed in passing lanes, as shown by his 1.5 steals per game, and his on-ball defense doesn’t stand up to the same par at this stage.

The same pressure falls on the Bucks’ drop-back scheme and Brook Lopez protecting the back line of their defense. With Conley and Mitchell capable of getting going with shotmaking from mid-range and in between the paint, Lopez’s paint patrolling will be crucial, given that the Jazz have the highest frequency of pick-and-roll plays for their ball handlers, per

Milwaukee’s new-look backcourt has been tested in trying to slow down productive scoring backcourts to start the season and they will face that same test come Friday night.