3 keys for the Milwaukee Bucks to bounce back against Utah Jazz

Oct 31, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 31, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo. Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert
Jan 8, 2021; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Nick Monroe/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports /

Well, that sure was a less than ideal start to the Milwaukee Bucks‘ road trip, huh? After being blown out by the Golden State Warriors and having their six-game win streak snapped, things don’t get any easier for the defending champs as they take on the Utah Jazz.

Sure, the Jazz aren’t as good (by record) as they were last season, but it’s a game in Utah. A quick reminder that the Bucks haven’t won in Utah since October 30th, 2001. That’s 7,440 days. It’s simply a cursed location and I’m convinced the Bucks are never going to win there ever again.

Regardless, I suppose there are a few keys for the Bucks if they want to break this curse and get their first win in the Beehive State (didn’t know it was called that) since Monsters Inc. was the number one movie in theatres.

The key matchup offensively for the Milwaukee Bucks will be Giannis Antetokounmpo against Rudy Gobert

Predictably, the key matchup on offense for the Milwaukee Bucks involved Giannis Antetokounmpo and it’s against one of the league’s premier rim protectors in Rudy Gobert.

I don’t expect Jazz head coach Quin Snyder to have Gobert go one-on-one against Antetokounmpo, but he’ll be there patrolling the paint all game to deter Antetokounmpo from getting easy looks at the basket.

In the last three seasons (including their one game this year), Antetokounmpo has shot 17-of-34 overall against Gobert and 15-of-27 (55.5 percent) on 2-point attempts and has drawn five shooting fouls.

Antetokounmpo settled far too much earlier this season against Gobert and the Jazz, taking 11 3s. Part of that was because the Bucks were missing so many bodies, Gobert could be matched up against a weak shooter, help off of them, and make things hard for Antetokounmpo to get easier looks at the rim.

Now that Bobby Portis is starting and the Bucks have Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday for this one (they missed the first game), Gobert will need to be stretched out a little bit to guard one of the Bucks’ good shooters in the starting lineup.