Bucks-Jazz Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 06, 2013
The Utah Jazz have been getting some good results with a shortened bench. They haven't had a bad result when the Milwaukee Bucks have visited Salt Lake City since 2001. Utah goes for a 10th win in 11 home games and its 11th consecutive victory with the Bucks on town on Wednesday night. Mo Williams (thumb) hasn't played since Dec. 22 and isn't expected back for two weeks, backup Earl Watson (leg) is out indefinitely and Gordon Hayward could miss a sixth consecutive game with a sprained right shoulder. Still, the Jazz (27-22) have won three of four and 12 of 17 after opening a three-game homestand with Monday's 98-91 overtime victory over Sacramento. Second-year shooting guard Alec Burks finished with a season-high 14 points while logging some key minutes at point guard behind starter Jamaal Tinsley, while forward DeMarre Carroll reached double digits in a career-best third consecutive game. "We've got some guys who weren't getting the playing time, but they can really play and now they're showing it," forward Al Jefferson said following Tuesday's practice. Veteran guard Randy Foye has also been making the most of his time on the floor, averaging 15.8 points while shooting 50 percent (37 for 74) from 3-point range over the last 12 games. Foye has back-to-back 20-point games for the first time in 2012-13 after scoring six of his 20 in the extra period on Monday when Utah won its third straight at EnergySolutions Arena. The Jazz are undefeated at home against Milwaukee since a 119-112 OT loss on Oct. 30, 2001. The Bucks (25-22) were hoping to arrive in Salt Lake City on a three-game road winning streak against Western Conference opponents, but they blew a 15-point halftime lead and fell 112-104 in Denver on Tuesday. Starting guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings scored 12 points apiece and shot a combined 11 for 36 - including 0 for 8 from beyond the arc - as the team lost for the third time in four games. Denver had 33 points on the break as Milwaukee's East-worst average in that category increased to 15.5. "They were able to get a lot of fast-break points,'' said Samuel Dalembert, who hit 17 of 21 shots and scored a career-best 35 points with 12 rebounds. "And then, there were so many shots that we weren't making. They got momentum going for them and we couldn't stop them.'' The Jazz are holding teams to 89.0 points on 41.4 percent shooting during their home winning streak, but they know that the Bucks are going to get plenty of opportunities to score. Milwaukee leads the NBA with 86.9 field-goal attempts per game after hitting 48 of 100 shots on Tuesday. "They're a high-energy team," Jefferson said. "Great backcourt with Monta Ellis and Jennings, so we're going to have to match their intensity and try to take advantage of our inside presence." Ellis, who will be facing the Jazz for the first time with Milwaukee, topped 30 points in his final three games against Utah with Golden State. If Jefferson and his teammates are scoring inside, though, Ellis' production may not matter. The Jazz are 15-3 when they score at least 46 points in the paint, a number they've hit in six of their last seven home games. Milwaukee is 7-14 when it allows 46 points or more in the lane, and it's surrendered an average of 51.7 in its last seven games. The Jazz have had a plus-15.6 margin in the paint in winning four of the last five meetings with the Bucks.
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