Jazz-Bucks preview

The Utah Jazz will put a 10-game home winning streak vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on the line Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

The last time Milwaukee won in Salt Lake City? October 30, 2001.

So, what does that mean for either team in terms of tonight’s game? Absolutely nothing.

The Bucks (25-21) are an entertaining team with a couple of speedy guards in Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but they’re also strong and steady in the frontcourt with 6-10 forward Ersan Ilyasova and reserve Samuel Dalembert, who is coming off a career-best 35 points and 12 rebounds in a Tuesday-night loss to Denver.

Jennings averages 18.6 points a game and Ellis averages 18.4, comprising a backcourt that should give the Jazz (27-22) a real challenge.

Ilyasova (10.9 points, 6.2 rebounds) will provide a good test for Utah’s big-man rotation of Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors.

“This is actually a basketball team,” Millsap said of the Bucks. “Multiple guys can do different things to help contribute.”

The Bucks and Jazz are similar in a few ways. Both are venerable NBA franchises that function with little fanfare; both come from some of the league’s smallest markets and often don’t garner much nationally attention.

One difference, however, is that the Bucks generate much of their offense from the backcourt, whereas the Jazz do most of their scoring in the frontcourt.

That contrast should be interesting throughout the game for both sides.

Jennings and Ellis will put pressure on Utah’s guards, who are already thinned with injuries. And the Jazz will counter with their own strength, particularly Jefferson (17.1 points per game) and Millsap (14.9) around the basket.

The Jazz have won nine of their last 10 games at home and three of four overall.

The Bucks have dropped two of their last three, including a 112-104 loss at Denver on Tuesday. They led the Nuggets by 15 at halftime but wilted in the second half.

The Jazz are 15-5 this season when they score at least 46 points in the paint.

“We’ve just got to continue doing what we’ve been doing: dominating the paint,” Jefferson said.

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About Jim Burton

Jim Burton has worked for the Standard-Examiner since 1991. He has covered everything from the preps to Utah, BYU, Weber State and the Ogden Raptors. Currently he is the Standard's Utah Jazz beatwriter and its sports columnist.
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