THE FACTS: Against a shorthanded and tired opponent, the Utah Jazz showed no mercy on Wednesday night.
The Jazz took advantage of Larry Sanders' absence and Milwaukee having to play its second game in two nights at high altitude to defeat the Bucks 100-86. Utah's bigs had a heyday near the rim as Al Jefferson recorded 19 points and 11 rebounds and Paul Millsap had 19 points and six boards. Enes Kanter came off the bench to record 17 points, nine rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots.
Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings each scored 17 points for the Bucks, who couldn't hold on to a double-digit lead for the third straight time in a road game. Jennings scored 12 of his points and Ilyasova had 11 in the first half.
The Jazz have defeated the Bucks 11 straight times in Utah.
QUOTABLE: "I thought he was great. He was playing smarter, big inside. I thought he made some great moves on the offensive end to get some offensive rebounds, gave us some extra opportunities there. He made some great passes. It was great to see."
-- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin on Kanter's play
THE STAT: One can only wonder who wins in scrimmages between Utah's first team and second team, because the Jazz's bench continues to outshine the starters. Utah's bench scored 45 of the team's points and collected more than half of the team's rebounds (27 of 50). Milwaukee's bench scored 29 points, but 14 of them came in the fourth quarter with the game already decided.
TURNING POINT: The Jazz's bench started turning the game's momentum in their favor before and during a 21-4 run in the second quarter. Kanter gave Utah the biggest boost during its spurt that put the team ahead 49-37 with 2:01 left before halftime. He had seven points during the run, while Millsap contributed six. DeMarre Carroll also gave the Jazz a lift with his hustle, and Alec Burks continued to play proficiently as a fill-in point guard.
HOT: Burks has made the most of his playing time opportunities with Mo Williams, Earl Watson and Gordon Hayward sidelined by injuries. His shot selection has greatly improved, and he's shooting a better percentage. In his last five games, he's shot 6-for-8 from 3-point range. Kanter got a well-deserved rousing ovation when he left the game in the second quarter. He had 13 points and seven rebounds in just nine first-half minutes. Samuel Dalembert, after he had 35 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes against Denver on Tuesday, started against the Jazz and recorded 10 points and 11 rebounds.
NOT: Jazz starters continued their season-long trend of startling slowly. They scored 10 points and had five turnovers in the first nine minutes, spotting the Bucks an early 12-point lead. Jennings, after scoring 10 points in the first 10 minutes, fizzled the rest of the way. He shot 1-for-9 in the game's final three quarters. He also missed first straight four free-throw attempts to start the second half. The Bucks shot 11-for-21 during a blazing start in which they raced out to a 25-13 lead. They shot 18-for-61 (29.5 percent) the rest of the way. Mike Dunleavy shot just 3-for-13 for Milwaukee.
QUOTABLE II: "They just dominated us in the paint. Our guys battled, but they are a physical team. That's their strength. They took advantage of it. When we go up against the teams that have the big physical front line, it's a problem for us. Sometimes it's the sheer size that's thrown up against us. It wears you down a little bit and it was evident tonight."
-- Bucks coach Jim Boylan
GOOD MOVE: The Jazz, with their depth at point guard limited because of injuries and Milwaukee missing important frontcourt players, knew their way to win was to pound the Bucks inside. They did just that, taking advantage of a weakened Milwaukee inside game to record 56 points in the paint. Utah's points in the paint were important for both teams. The Jazz improved to 16-3 when they score at least 46 points in the paint. The Bucks fell to 7-15 when they allow 46 or more points in the paint.
BAD MOVE: The Bucks didn't utilize what seemed to be an enormous advantage at guard. Jennings and Monta Ellis probably should have had their way against Utah's aging Jamaal Tinsley and the inexperienced Burks. But after Milwaukee's fast start, the two guards stopped attacking. Fatigue may have been a factor for both players after playing in Denver and Utah back-to-back, but neither of them had much of an impact on the game after the first quarter.
NOTABLE: Sanders had to sit out after injuring his lower back against Denver on Tuesday night. His status is day-to-day. The Bucks were also without starting forward Luc Mbah a Moute, who was a late scratch. He did not dress because of a sore right knee. Marquis Daniels, after sitting out one game because of personal reasons, started in Mbah a Moute's place. The Jazz outscored the Bucks in second-chance points 31-10. The Bucks dropped to 0-13 when they score less than 89 points. With two 3-pointers, Randy Foye is now in second place in most 3-pointers made by a Jazzman in a single season. He has made 116 this season.
UP NEXT: For the Bucks, Saturday vs. Detroit, Monday vs. Washington, Wednesday vs. Philadelphia. For the Jazz, Friday vs. Chicago, Saturday @ Sacramento, Tuesday vs. Oklahoma City.