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EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Jazz torch the corners in win over Bucks

By David Locke, Utah Jazz

Summary: The Jazz blow out the Bucks en route to a 104-88 win. The Jazz had a game plan on how to attack the Bucks and killed their defense while stifling the Bucks’ top 10 offense.

• The Bucks allow the most corner three-point attempts in the NBA and the Jazz went right after the Bucks’ over-shifting defense and exposed them all night. The Jazz took 20 corner three attempts tonight, making nine. The idea of taking 20 corner-three attempts is a remarkable amount. The Jazz have only taken 10 or more of those shots five times this season. The Jazz took 26% of their shots as corner-threes and the league average in 7.5%. The Jazz take about seven a game and went nuts tonight. They were really open as well.

• The Bucks started 210 pound, 7-footer Thon Maker at center and got away with it because Rudy got two early fouls and left at the 9:06 mark of the first quarter. After that, Rudy crushed the Bucks’ bigs, overpowering them and getting to the rim all night. Plus, he had five offensive rebounds. Rudy finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds. He was dominant.

• Gordon Hayward started the night strong and then coolly finished the night with 27 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. He had 12 in the first quarter to control the game while Rudy was out and then scored with ease the rest of the night.

• The Jazz forced 17 turnovers tonight. They have begun to force more and more turnovers — an area where they were deficient earlier this year.

• Giannis did not have a good night. Hayward was assigned defensively and honestly, I’m not sure if he was that good or not. However, tonight the Greek Freak was 2 for 10 with just 9 points in 39 minutes. This is consistent night in and night out that opposing small forward do not have good nights against the Jazz.

• The Bucks have lost 9 of 10.

• The Jazz have been great all season against below .500 teams and they are now 23-5 v. below .500 teams. 

• Joe Johnson was great tonight. His passing in the first half opened up the Jazz’s offense. Coach Igor singled him out at halftime for his great floor work. He then schooled Jabari throughout the third quarter and finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

• Joe Ingles had three more steals tonight. 

• The only downside tonight is Rodney Hood hyperextended his knee again and will have an MRI in the morning, according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune.

• This was a solid blow out win tonight for a rested Jazz team.

• The Bucks haven’t won in SLC since October of 2001.