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Bucks vs. Jazz: Giannis leads Bucks in retaliation efforts, 117-100

Milwaukee is over .500 for first time since Feb. 28, 2015

NBA: Utah Jazz at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Following their historic blowout loss in Salt Lake City a couple of weeks ago, the Bucks gave the Jazz a taste of their own medicine at the Bradley Center. Giannis Antetokounmpo was simply too much of a force, as he led the way with 37 points in Milwaukee’s 117-100 victory.

Right out of the gates, we saw a different Bucks team than any one we’ve seen of late. A 29 point first quarter and a ten-point lead heading into the second period on a back-to-back was quite nice to see. While they gave up the lead for a brief period of time in the second quarter, a nice run before the two teams headed for the tunnel gave the Bucks a nine point advantage heading into the break.

From that point on, it was all Bucks. A 10-3 run to begin the third period was enough to never look back. The Jazz would briefly cost into contention late in the fourth when a basket from rookie Donovan Mitchell slashed the lead to just single digits, but the Bledshow would begin its premiere action on the night. The Birthday Boy’s triple on the other end enabled a 22-14 run for Milwaukee to close things out.

Giannis would finish with a game high 37 points. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe would play his supporting cast once again, finishing with 20 points apiece on the evening.

For Utah, two players — Rudy Gobert and Alec Burks off the bench — would finish with 20 points each.

Three Observations

The Bucks adjusted well in terms of defending the 3-point ball.

Ah, yes. Who could forget that magical night in Utah when the Jazz connected on a franchise record of threes from beyond the perimeter? Thankfully, there was no repeat of history at the BC. The Bucks held the Jazz to just 34.8 percent of shooting from deep on 8-of-23 shooting, which, knowing the results of the last time these two teams met, is a major victory. It’s nice to see the defense being able to shore up these issues, given its recent hectic state of inconsistency over the last few games. It’s also one thing to have it be the focus of practice and then actually being able to carry it out on the floor.

It’s great being able to get these Ws while Tony Snell is sidelined.

It was another game without Tony Snell, who sat out once again with left patella tendinitis. I was a little worried with him being out tonight. However, the Bucks were able to hold their own. Gary Payton II started again, and while the box score may just show four points on the night, he still finished with a +20 in RPM. Malcolm Brogdon was his usual self off the bench, contributing with 16 points. Having the next guy up and provide beneficial minutes in the game is huge in the NBA, and a large reason of why the Bucks went undefeated this homestand and won the back-to-back.

Milwaukee did a terrific job of containing Donovan Mitchell.

It seems as if every game he plays, Donovan Mitchell has an insane highlight play. That play never came Saturday night. The Bucks did a spectacular job of putting a man on the up and coming rookie, most notably Eric Bledsoe. Jason Kidd gave him a majority of the credit in his postgame presser. We all know that Bledsoe prides himself on defense, and that’s what he said in his postgame comments. It’s always good to see a player come up and take a challenge like Bledsoe last night.

Bonus Bucks Bits

  • The Bucks are now five games over .500 for the first time since being 32-27 on Feb. 28, 2015. This team is becoming fun to watch, and who knows where they’ll go from here. Let’s cross our fingers for 10 games over the mark.
  • I find myself conflicted with Utah’s uniforms. While I enjoy the color scheme, there’s just something about them that appear “rugby-ish” to me. There’s even more of a truth to it when they wear their sleeved uniforms. I still enjoy their rebranding, but I find it as an interesting occurrence.
  • I’ll now spin off from their uniforms to their name. I can’t tell you how much it bugs me that the Jazz are not being used as the mascot down in New Orleans. Like, really? There’s got to be something else that’s exclusive to Utah.
  • John Henson continues to make me do a 180 on him. Once again, he began the game like a bat out of hell. He drifted all around the court and it seemed as if he always greeted any Jazz layups with a swat of his hand. While Thon Maker continues to struggle and find his footing, it’s imperative for Henson to make a lasting imprint on the game, and thankfully that’s exactly what he’s doing.
  • We talked to Eric Bledsoe after the game about whether or not he had any preferences on the Big Three nicknames, mentioning KEG is a lot of fans’ favorites. He jokingly laughed it off and began talking to Khris Middleton, who was across the locker room (he was joking that it had Khris coming first instead of himself). Just small interactions like those makes it so much fun to watch this team enjoy the game both on the court and in the locker room. With that kind of chemistry, they’ll be able to go far.