April 24, 2018
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Jazz big men have field day against Bucks

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

SALT LAKE CITY — The Milwaukee Bucks were missing one of their big men Wednesday night.

Coincidentally, it seemed like the Utah Jazz played with an extra man in the middle all night.

Center Al Jefferson and forward Paul Millsap each scored 19 points and backup big Enes Kanter contributed 17 points and a career-high five blocks to lead the Utah Jazz to a 100-86 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

Jefferson and Derrick Favors each pulled down 11 rebounds, and Kanter grabbed a season-high nine boards as the Jazz used their size advantage to beat the Bucks in Utah for the 11th straight time.

“We knew we kind of had an advantage overall,” Jefferson said. “We just played inside-out ball tonight and everybody responded well.”

? Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova each scored 17 points for the Bucks, but they couldn’t hold to an early 12-point lead and ran out of gas after playing two games in two nights.

Milwaukee, playing without injured starting center Larry Sanders (back), fell to 25-24 overall and 12-14 on the road.

Samuel Dalembert had 10 points and 11 rebounds, but it was a quiet night for the Bucks’ big man compared to his career-high 35-point, 12-rebound outing in Denver the previous night.

Utah outrebounded the Bucks 50-37 and won the points-in-the-paint battle 56-36. The Jazz also had 31 second-chance points to just 10 for Milwaukee.

“They just dominated us on the paint,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “Our guys battled, but they are a physical team. That’s their strength. They took advantage of it.”

? Randy Foye chipped in 12 points and DeMarre Carroll added 11 as Utah improved to 28-22. The Jazz are 19-5 at home this season, including 11 victories in their last 12 appearances.

“That’s who we are. That’s where we generate our offense from. We want to go inside. We’re a load,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “Most teams have a difficult time dealing with the inside. I was happy with the fact that we stayed in it and tried to make them stop us inside.

Despite playing in Denver on Tuesday and not arriving in Utah until early Wednesday morning, the Bucks came out strong. Jennings had 10 quick points and his 3-pointer at 10 minutes into the game put Milwaukee ahead 25-13.

The Jazz chipped away at the Bucks’ lead by scoring the final six points of the first quarter and beginning the second period with an Alec Burks 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run.

Kanter then went to work off the bench, scoring eight points in a row for the Jazz to help Utah turn things around.

Millsap ended Kanter’s streak (11 of 13 Jazz points) with a go-ahead-for-good basket at the 7:22 mark of the second quarter.

Nobody played bigger than Kanter.

“He played at a high level, man,” Jefferson said. “I just had a talk with him not too long ago and said I need that from him every night.”

The Bucks made a 6-0 run just before halftime, but Jefferson quickly put back a missed off-balance 3-pointer by Carroll to give Utah a 49-43 advantage with 0.1 seconds left.

Milwaukee pulled within seven points on Ilyasova’s 3-pointer early in the third quarter, but the Jazz controlled the game from that point.?The Bucks only shot 35 percent.

“They did a good job, especially Kanter, he was down there and had a bunch of offensive rebounds (five) in 17 minutes,” Bucks forward Drew Gooden said. “Favors, all those guys, were just eating glass tonight and I think that was the difference in the game.”

NOTES: Hall of Fame power forward Karl Malone offered his coaching services to the Jazz during a radio interview with Salt Lake City-based KALL-AM. “All they’ve got to do is call me. I’ll work with the big men for free for a while,” the former Jazz great said. “I’m saying it again (but) ain’t nobody took me up on it. Maybe they don’t want to hear me.” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin’s response: “Who knows? Who knows?” … Malone’s son, Karl Malone Jr., signed his National Letter of Intent to play football for LSU on Wednesday morning. … It took a week and a half, but Jazz sixth man Gordon Hayward’s shoulder has improved to the point that he’s able to do some work on the court. “I’m shooting now,” he said, grinning, “so it’s better.” He has missed six games with his injury. … According to Elias Sports Bureau, Dalembert became the first NBA player to total as many as 35 points and 12 rebounds in as little as 27 minutes when he hit those figures during the Bucks’ loss at Denver on Tuesday.


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