UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Preparing For Scorching Bucks Offense

Jan 7, 2021, 5:27 PM
Rudy Gobert Giannis...
Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks attempts a shot over Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz during a game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on November 8, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz will look to stem their two-game losing streak when they face the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.

The Jazz lost back to back games during a two-night stay in New York. On Tuesday. the Jazz were blown out by the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night 130-96, before blowing an 18 point first-half lead against the New York Knicks on Wednesday to fall 112-100.

The Bucks meanwhile are winners of three straight and will be putting their blemish-free record at home on the line when they host the Jazz.

Jazz Will Face Bucks League Best Offense

The Bucks will bring the league’s best offense to the floor when the two teams face off on Friday. Milwaukee leads the NBA in points per game, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage, and offense rating early in the NBA season.

The team’s 120.1 offensive rating is nearly five points better than the closest competitor, while the Bucks net rating is more than three points better than the second-place Los Angeles Lakers.

The team’s numbers have been skewed by three enormous blowouts through the team’s first eight games. Milwaukee scored 138 points and outscored the Golden State Warriors by 39 on Christmas Day.

Four days later, the Bucks beat the Miami Heat by 47 points while scoring 144 points. Thet Bucks set an NBA record by knocking down 29 threes in the contest, including the final basket by former Utah State great Sam Merrill.

In their latest outing, the Bucks scored 130 points in their 15 point victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Milwaukee started the season 2-3, including a 20 point loss to the Knicks before rattling off three consecutive wins leading to their matchup with the Jazz.

Jazz Scuffling Into Milwaukee

While the Bucks appear to be gaining steam, the Jazz are entering the meeting running on fumes after two difficult losses in their previous outings.

Kyrie Irving and the Nets steamrolled the Jazz to an early 20 point lead, which grew to 34 points by night’s end on Tuesday.

The Jazz followed it up with an impressive first half against the Knicks, before surrendering 68 second-half points, including 14 straight to Austin Rivers late in the fourth quarter to allow New York to dig themselves out of an 18 point hole.

The team has struggled this season to maintain large leagues in two of their four wins, as both the Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers erased double-digit deficits against the Jazz late in the fourth quarter

After a strong start to the seven-game road trip in San Antonio, the team has struggled to shoot the ball or get stops on the defensive end.

Over their last two games, the Jazz are shooting 41 percent from the floor and 32 percent from the three-point line while scoring 98 points per contest. Meanwhile, opponents are shooting 54 percent from the floor and 38 percent from the three-point line while averaging 121 points per game.

Key Matchup Between Jazz And Bucks

The Jazz toughest test will come in slowing two-time MVP and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Greek superstar is averaging 26.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists for the Bucks this season. Antetokounmpo is also shooting 52 percent from the floor and averaging 10.2 free-throw attempts per game.

Though Antetokounmpo lines up at power forward, Jazz coach Quin Snyder has recently preferred to match center Rudy Gobert against the Bucks star defensively.

Antetkounmpo is shooting just 25 percent from the three-point line this year, allowing Gobert to both monitor the star and patrol the paint.

Gobert is averaging 13.9 points, 13.1 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game this season.

The two teams split their season matchup last season, thanks in part to a Bojan Bogdanovic game-winner as time expired in Salt Lake City.

Broadcast

The two teams will tip-off at 6 pm MST. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

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