When the Utah Jazz go to Milwaukee to face the Bucks, it will be a matchup of two very hot teams. The Jazz and the Bucks each have 4-game winning streaks coming in, and they will each do their best to make it 5. Here are some thoughts and stats:
– Sitting at a record of 21-26 just 16 games ago, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to wake up and turn their season around. Since that point in time, the Bucks have won 13 out of 16, as they are now 5 games over .500, and they are in 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
– In their last matchup, which was a 112-95 victory for the Jazz, CJ Miles led the Jazz in scoring with 19, and Carlos Delfino led the Bucks in scoring with a season-high 28. This time around, I think the Jazz will do a better job at defending Delfino. If they put Wesley Matthews on him, which I believe they will do, Delfino will have a tough time at putting up big numbers. Matthews has truly stepped up as a very good defender for the Jazz, and he has been an important component to the success of this team.
– Andrew Bogut has been one of the best defenders and rebounders in the league this season, which is why it is surprising that Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur each had a double-double in their last meeting. With Bogut playing his best ball of the season right now, I doubt that those two will each go for a double-double again. However, I do expect Boozer to have one, as he ranks 3rd in the league with 43 double-doubles. Overall, I think Bogut could hurt the Jazz in this game, as they don’t have a true center (that plays) who can guard him effectively. Utah’s best big defender is probably Paul Millsap, but he is only 6″8, and Bogut is too good to not exploit that height mismatch. If they want to shut down Bogut, they are going to need to come up with a good gameplan, because physically, I just don’t think that they stand a chance.
– Although Brandon Jennings only had 5 points on 1-8 shooting in their last meeting, he was a factor, as he dished out 11 assists. A lot of those assists came from getting past Deron Williams and forcing a second Jazz defender to come up and help. With that defender leaving someone else open, Jennings was able to find the open man for many easy baskets. I can see him doing the same type of thing in this one, but I feel that his offense will be even better. The Bucks are riding a nice wave of momentum right now, and I believe that Jennings will feed off of that. That should mean at least 15 points from the rookie out of Italy.
– This is going to be a real battle tonight in the Bradley Center. If the Jazz get off to a slow start, like they have done too many times this season, it will be a struggle to come back against a good defensive team like the Bucks. If the scoring in this game is in the 90’s, I would give the Bucks the nod. However, if it is more of a high-scoring affair, I would give the nod to the Jazz. The Jazz have been scoring a ridiculous amount of points lately (117.8 pts/gm in the last 6), and they would love nothing more than to get out and run all over Milwaukee. Hopefully, D-Will can control the pace of this game, and he will be able to help them do just that. Go Jazz!