Well, the Jazz went into Milwaukee looking to put a positive end to the road trip. It ended up being anything but. Not only did they lose 94-86 in ugly fashion, they also saw yet another injury or two. The doghouse expanded. A certain played played 26:37… 26:37 more than he should ever see in a game, and 4th most minutes on the team. And we could go on.
Why the Jazz lost…
- Deron Williams went 5-16 for 17 points. He also had 8 boards & 8 assists. That doesn’t seem too bad (save for the shooting). But then you look a bit closer. 5 fouls. 7 turnovers. A night from downtown (1-6) that would make Chris Paul look like Reggie Miller. Yeah. Highly ineffective… and that’s after having 2 nights off. And late in the game, when the Jazz needed a 3… he was not the guy you wanted shooting it. Maybe CJ (not in), maybe Almond (not in), maybe AK or Korver… anyone but Deron. His shot was not falling, and yet he kept shooting. And it killed us.
- Mehmet Okur missed the game with an injury. ‘Sap played the 2nd most minutes on the team, but still missed time with the injury. Fesenko & Koufos really didn’t impress…
Sloan also wasn’t too happy with Kyrylo Fesenko, whom he described as not being ready to play, and Kosta Koufos, who went 3-for-10 and left Sloan with the impression he was more interested in shooting than anything else.
To note… Fesenko started, but only played 3:45 before hitting the bench for good. Koufos took 10 shots (hitting only 3) in 17 minutes. The big man rotation is horribly weak, and could be getting weaker for the next game or more. Yikes.
- CJ & Brewer both continued their ineffective play (at least offensively), and ended with 16 & 21 minutes played respectively. Brewer was just 1-6 from the field.
- 23 turnovers (12 more than the Bucks) killed too. Deron had the 7 mentioned. So did AK, which ruined an otherwise good game. That stat includes 11 steals for the Bucks… 6 by Luke Ridnour himself. Hold onto the dang ball!
- ‘Sap’s double-double streak came to an end, as he finished with 11 & 9. And he says he played the 2nd half as if he only had 1 leg. Yikes.
- No Knees played 26 minutes. Yep… 26! He was 3-6 from the field, and had 4 fouls & 2 TOs. On the other hand, Korver played fewer minutes but was just 3-8 from the field, while Almond was 2-2 (1-1 from long range) in 12 minutes. Playing No Knees that much is almost like waiving a white flag.
- The Jazz fouled away… picking up 31 to the Bucks’ 25.
Why it was so close…
- The Bucks shot just 38.8% from the field. While it’s better than the Jazz mark (38%), it’s not very good.
- The Jazz controlled the boards, 49-43.
- Andrew Bogut didn’t repeat his last performance, finishing with 9 & 11.
- While Michael Redd did his scoring (27 points), he was 9-25 from the field and a pathetic 1-9 from long range (yep, he somehow made Deron look good, which brings to question who exactly he makes Chris Paul look like). The teams were a combined 4-30 from long range… 1-16 from the Bucks, and 3-14 for the Jazz. Horrible, horrible mess there.
- Richard Jefferson had himself a bad shooting night as well (didn’t everyone though?), finishing 3-14.
Now the Jazz are off until tomorrow, when they host the Dallas Mavericks. Unlike the Jazz, who are a
running walking (you can’t be running when No Knees is on the team) train-wreck, the Mavs are injury free, and are 5 games above .500. That’s not really news (the Jazz are 4 games above), until you realize that just a bit back, they were 5 games under .500. Talk about a turnaround. I guess that’s what happens when you’re relatively healthy.
Oh wow, look at that… I’m getting this up before halftime! What’s next?
Anyhow, the Jazz, 2-2 on their current road-trip and coming off of a loss in Chicago, look to finish the road-trip on a positive note as they face the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. The Bucks come in at 13-16 (the Jazz are 17-12), but have won 4 of their last 5… all in impressive fashion. The wins have come with margins of 18 (Indiana), 15 (@ Miami), 24 (@ New York) & 34 (Los Angeles Clippers) points, with the wins sandwiching a loss at Philadelphia in which the Bucks blew a 4th-quarter lead. The leader for the Bucks during that time has been Michael Redd (obviously), and the 1 loss was the game in which Redd with 2-13. See a correlation?
The Bucks are well rested; no starter played more than 30 minutes in the blowout that took place on Saturday (the Bucks most lopsided win in nearly 7 years)… Also worth noting is that the Bucks bench in the most productive in the EC, averaging 35.2 ppg… The last time the teams met (just over a month ago at the ESA), the Jazz won 105-94, despite the absence of Deron Williams, and despite the fact that Andrew Bogut was dominating the Jazz inside. Michael Redd missed that game too, so if him & Deron cancel each other out and playing at the ESA isn’t a 9-point swing in favor of the Jazz, the Jazz should prevail today… Hey, anything to make us feel better about the Jazz playing on the road, no?… On the Jazz side, they have won 8 straight against the Bucks.
Injury-wise… Booze & Golf Cart are out, and Deron is probable. For the Bucks, Malik Allen is questionable. To note… it seems that Bogut is playing in some pain.
Three Key Players
- Deron Williams: He’s probable, but I really doubt he’ll miss the game. He’s averaged 20.2 ppg & 10.0 apg against the Bucks in his career, and seeing similar numbers tonight would be huge. Before the Bulls game, he had 3 straight games at above 60% shooting, huge because he’s struggled shooting the ball since his return. Hopefully the Bulls game was just an aberration due to fatigue.
- Michael Redd: Again, he’s been huge. In the last 5 games, he’s averaged 18 points (negatively skewed by the 6 point debacle in Philly), and is the team leader in assists. He didn’t play in the last match-up between the 2 teams, and has career averages of 22.3 ppg and 1.0 apg against the Jazz. He had 26 points the last time the Jazz visited (so last year), and 57 back in 2006. So yes, he can go off on the Jazz.
- Andre Bogut: The Jazz have to stop him. Last time, he had 16 points (on 6-13 shooting) and pulled down 20 boards (!). And that was against Okur, Booze, ‘Sap, AK & Koufos. Of course, that was the game right after Okur returned from Turkey, and he was struggling. But still, giving up 20 boards isn’t acceptable, and hopefully it doesn’t happen again. And you know if the Bucks weren’t busy clanking treys and were actually looking for Bogut, he could’ve had a 20-20 night. So yeah, the team will have to stop him… be it ‘Sap or Okur or someone else.
The Jazz, continuing their recent trend, play well at the beginning, sucked in the middle, and woke up in the end, overcoming injuries galore to hold off the Bucks, 105-94. It wasn’t easy though. Andrew Bogut had 16 points and 20 boards (!), putting to end (at least for a day) the thought that the Jazz had the advantage inside. He was 6-13 from the field and 4-6 from the line, and you have to think that if Luke Ridnour wasn’t too busy clanking three 3-pointers, he might’ve looked for Bogut more. Considering that Bogut was totally dominating the revolving door that the Jazz call interior defense, you think the Bucks would’ve considered it. Richard Jefferson had 25, and Charlie Bell & Ramon Sessions each had 15 for the Bucks. So yeah, the Jazz got lucky that Bogut didn’t get the ball more, and got lucky that Michael Redd wasn’t playing.
The Jazz actually roared out of the gate against the probably fatigued Bucks, jumping ahead 26-16 after one. But the Bucks mounted a major comeback, jumping ahead by 2 at the half, and keeping that lead after 3. The Jazz finally woke up after that, outscoring the Bucks 31-18 in the final quarter. The Jazz did have one familiar face back in action, but it didn’t end very well.
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