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Bucks vs. Jazz Final Score: Lackluster third quarter sinks Bucks vs. Jazz, 94-85

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The Bucks struggled to score for a large portion of the third quarter, while the Jazz scored with relative ease to take a sizable lead and eventually beat the Bucks.

The Bucks went four and a half minutes in the third quarter without scoring on Sunday against the Utah Jazz. In that quarter, the Jazz outscored the Bucks 31-18, which ultimately gave them the cushion they would need to take control of the game and beat the Bucks 94-85. Giannis Antetokounmpo ended the night with 12 points, seven assists, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals while Jabari Parker added 19 points and eight rebounds, but it could not help the Bucks overcome their weak third quarter performance.

The first half of Sunday's game looked shockingly similar to the Bucks' first game of the season against the Jazz, which Utah won 84-81. The pace was slow with the Jazz controlling the game's tempo. Despite the slow pace, Antetokounmpo was able to put up pretty solid numbers with eight points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks. Parker did the same, ending the first two periods with 11 points, three rebounds, and two assists.

The third quarter started off fine for the Bucks with both teams trading baskets for the first five minutes, but took a turn for the worse shortly thereafter. After Antetokounmpo hit two free throws to give Milwaukee a 53-51 lead with 6:54 left in the quarter, the Bucks went four minutes and 31 seconds without scoring and found themselves behind 64-53. At the end of the quarter, they trailed 73-59.

The Bucks opened the fourth quarter with a lineup of Ennis/Cunningham/Parker/Henson/Plumlee, which quickly brought the Bucks' deficit to just ten before giving up three consecutive 3-point baskets to Joe Ingles that extended the Jazz lead 17, their biggest of the night. The Bucks had 10 minutes to come back, but just didn't have any answers for how to get back in the game.

Throughout it, the Bucks gave up a number of open threes, but the Jazz didn't seem to take advantage until the start of the fourth quarter when Ingles rattled off three in a row. Offensively, the Bucks just didn't know how to put points on the board. They tried an Antetokounmpo-centric approach in the first half, a Monroe-centric approach in the third quarter, and the two-big lineup in the third and fourth quarter. None of the three approaches ended up being particularly effective and they just couldn't score with the Jazz as the game progressed.

Milwaukee will need a short memory though as they travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons Monday night to start a three-game road trip. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CST.

Tidbits

  • Jazz wing Gordon Hayward had missed two straight games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot before playing against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. He scored Utah's first basket on Sunday.
  • John Henson and Miles Plumlee were the Bucks' first substitutions against the Jazz. Kidd has spoken against using two-big lineups before, but the combination worked well against the Grizzlies and the Jazz tend to play a number of lineups that feature two bigs as well.
  • Jared Cunningham saw his first Bucks action when he entered the game with 4.4 seconds left in the first quarter. He ended up playing 16 minutes on the night.
  • Damien Inglis entered the game with 7:48 left in the second quarter. Before the game, Jason Kidd said that he wanted to see how Inglis responds to a number of different situations, including being the first, second, or third person off the bench. It appears Inglis did not like Sunday night's role quite as much.

Thoughts

  • Before the game, I asked Jazz coach Quin Snyder about the problems Antetokounmpo can create for defenses at the point guard position.
  • At the start of the season, I joked that Greivis Vasquez and Jerryd Bayless were transition three hunters because of their proclivity for shooting threes in transition and semi-transition. For a while, Bayless didn't have a hunting buddy. Antetokounmpo has now started to fill that role. He regularly looks for ways to get Bayless open looks at threes early in the shot clock.
  • Thought this was a really good point from Nate Duncan. Parker has struggled with that in-between shot. When he's kept from the rim, he hasn't really found a go-to way to finish possessions.
  • The distance from which Parker and Antetokounmpo attempt to take off from for a dunk will never cease to amaze me.
  • Tyler Ennis has done a nice job getting to the rim in the last two games, which isn't something he has done particularly well in his NBA career. If he can continue to do that with some regularity, he may be able to carve out a role for himself in the NBA.
  • Greg Monroe took just two shots in the first half and went scoreless. The jaw of every November Bucks fan just dropped. It is startling how much this team has changed in just a few months.
  • Every game, Parker does at least one thing on defense that makes you go, "What? Why?" Against the Jazz, it was running back in transition and allowing Shelvin Mack to sprint in front of him. No competitive advantage could be gained from Parker allowing Mack to get out front, but he still did it.
  • The third and fourth quarter is the worst I've seen the Bucks look in an awfully long time. The Bucks gave up a bunch of corner threes to start the fourth quarter and they looked completely lost offensively. It was pretty ugly.
  • Antetokounmpo hit three long twos on Sunday; two off the dribble and a third on a catch-and-shoot look. It was probably the best his jumper has looked in the last few weeks.
  • I am on the record as being against two-big lineups, so I'm certainly biased, but I just don't know how you play Henson, Plumlee, Cunningham and Parker together and expect anything good to happen. It's debatable if Plumlee and Henson provide enough coverage of the three point line with three capable defenders on the floor, but adding Cunningham and Parker to the mix makes it impossible to put together any semblance of a NBA defense.