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Bucks vs. Jazz Preview: Milwaukee tries to bounce back in Salt Lake City

After a disheartening loss in Denver which saw the Bucks blow a 15-point halftime lead, Milwaukee looks for a better result in the second half of its 2-game mountainous road trip. Larry Sanders will miss the game with a back contusion.

Doug Pensinger
2012/2013 NBA Season
(27-22, 18-5 home)
(25-22, 12-12 road)
February 6, 2013
EnergySolutions Arena | Salt Lake City, UT
8:00 CT
FS Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ
Probable Starters
Jamaal Tinsley PG Brandon Jennings
Randy Foye SG Monta Ellis
Marvin Williams SF Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
Paul Millsap PF Ersan Ilyasova
Al Jefferson C Samuel Dalembert
2012/13 Advanced Stats
91.1 (19th) Pace 94.5 (6th)
106.4 (11th) ORtg 103.1 (23rd)
107.2 (24th) DRtg 103.7 (9th)

On the Jazz: SLC Dunk / Salt City Hoops / Salt Lake Tribune

Jazz Update. Utah has played uneven ball over the past two weeks, with a loss to the Lakers back on Jan. 25 kicking off LA's current successful run while the Jazz have won 4 of their last 7. The Jazz backcourt has been hampered by injuries, with Mo Williams still expected to be sidelined another 2 weeks, Earl Watson out indefinitely, and Gordon Hayward set to miss his 6th-straight game. But Utah still boasts an imposing front line of Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, who will put serious pressure on a Milwaukee defense that could be without Larry Sanders. Speaking of...

Sanders Update. The good news is that Sanders appears to have dodged any serious injury. After hitting the floor hard after a collision with Denver's Kenneth Faried, there was concern Sanders had suffered a serious back injury. But according to USA Today's Sam Amick, the injury is "relatively minor". Sanders is listed as questionable for tonight's game, and Samuel Dalembert would likely get the start if he's unable to go.

Update: Sanders has been ruled out, according to the @BucksPR Twitter account. He's been diagnosed with a lower back contusion.

Trading Game. Both Milwaukee and Utah have been mentioned among teams "most likely" to make a trade before the Feb. 21 deadline. ESPN's Chad Ford suggested the Bucks have been "VERY active" in the trade market, with a number of key roster pieces mentioned as being available. The Jazz are also expected to move one of their two frontcourt starters in an effort to make more room for Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. Millsap seems to be constantly surrounded by trade rumors, while a report from Chris Sheridan suggests the San Antonio Spurs might be seriously interested in acquiring Jefferson.

Daniels Back. Marquis Daniels is back with the team after missing yesterday's tilt for personal reasons. After Jennings and Ellis racked up big (and largely ineffective) minutes against the Nuggets, Daniels might be called upon to spell the pair more than usual if they're tired or stuck in a slump.

Free-Throw Follies. A handful of late turnovers got much of the attention in the Bucks' loss to Denver, and there's no doubt Milwaukee's inability to even get up a shot was...depressing. But the bigger issue may well have been the 27-5 advantage Denver held at the free-throw line. Unfortunately, the Jazz are even better at getting to the line than the Nuggets, ranking 6th in the NBA in free-throw rate. Five different Jazz players earn at least 5 free throws per 36 minutes. On the plus side, the Jazz are equally bad at keeping opponents off the line, so perhaps the Bucks have a decent chance of evening things out tonight.