There was only supposed to be one tough game on this Western Conference road trip for the Milwaukee Bucks, but after blowing a fourth-quarter lead against the Los Angeles Lakers last night, the Bucks are looking a bit shaky. Milwaukee's offense was certain to hit a few bumps after swapping out Brandon Knight for Michael Carter-Williams, but the loss in LA was thanks in large part to a major defensive failing in the final period.
The Jazz may be 13 games under .500, but they're a better team than the Lakers, with a roughly league-average offense that's capable of some big nights: Utah put up a 116.0 offensive rating against Denver last night in a 104-82 win.
O.J. Mayo is due to return after missing two games with a hamstring injury. Jared Dudley is out with a knee injury, but X-rays were negative.
The Jazz turn the ball over quite a bit, and they're about league average in shooting efficiency and free-throw rate. But they're first in the NBA in offensive rebound rate, grabbing boards on nearly 30 percent of their own misses. The Jazz are also in the top ten in defensive rebound rate. This is a team that can dominate the glass against just about any team in the NBA, a tough matchup for the sometimes rebound-challenged Bucks.
Key Matchup: Point Guards
Start with MCW and Dante Exum. Both players will start, but neither is playing real heavy minutes right now. Both are big point guards with turnover issues and wayward jump shots. The key for each is keying the defense, taking care of the ball, and creating good shots for teammates.
Those two give way to Jerryd Bayless and Trey Burke, with a dash of Tyler Ennis thrown in for Milwaukee. All are marginally better shooters but lack the former's size, athleticism, and passing instincts. The Bucks will rely on Giannis Antetokounmpo to counter star wing Gordon Hayward, while hoping anybody can counter the Jazz's solid frontcourt. That make point guard one spot to make up some ground.
|14/15 NBA Season
|February 28th, 2015
|EnergySolutions Arena | Salt Lake City, UT
|Fox Sports Wisconsin | 620 WTMJ
|2014/15 Advanced Stats