by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo by Rick Bowmer of AP Photo.
The Utah Jazz (35-37) takes on the best team in the league, the Milwaukee Bucks (52-20) in their final meeting of the season.
Time to Buck Up
This game started in Grayson Allen‘s (25/4/1) hands. Scoring the first 11 points of the game on 4/4 (100%) shooting from the field behind three blocks from Brook Lopez (17/14/2). With Utah being down 16-3 at the first timeout break, a tribute video for Joe Ingles (6/1/6), who played for Utah from 2014-2022, was played in his first return to Utah. The crowd gave Ingles a standing ovation for the former fan favorite for the past decade. Utah tried to keep up with Milwaukee’s firepower but shot 10/29 (34.5%) from the field including 2/10 (20%) from the perimeter. Utah’s only glimmer of light in the first quarter came from Kelly Olynyk (16/7/3), who shot 3/4 from the field while accounting for nine of Utah’s 25 points. With Utah struggling, Milwaukee easily finished with a 40-25 lead.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “Dok puttin’ that back where it belongs 💥 #TakeNote | @udoka35 https://t.co/uv2b7Ur5Qc” / Twitter
After an abysmal first quarter, Utah showed some fight after the break. Simone Fontecchio (26 points and 2 rebounds) exceeded expectations in his third career start firing at will and shooting 5/7 (71.4%) from the field. During the quarter, Walker Kessler (7/8/2) earned block number 160 on the season, the second most blocks for a Utah rookie behind only Mark Eaton with 275 blocks. After shooting a disastrous 2/10 (20%) from the perimeter in the first, Utah put more focus on the perimeter shooting 10/20 (50%) in the second quarter. Though Utah was able to outscore Milwaukee in the second, Utah finished the half trailing 72-58.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “Blocker Kessler but make it 𝚜𝚕𝚘-𝚖𝚘 https://t.co/9bnnyhRJst” / Twitter
Young Bucks Steppin’ In
After the break for the half, Milwaukee really ran away with the game. Able to practically score at will in the perimeter scoring 11/14 (78.6%) for the quarter. Utah on the other hand struggled from the field as they shot 8/21 (38.1%) for the quarter with them going 1/6 (16.7%) from the perimeter. With Milwaukee outscoring Utah 43-27 in the quarter things were looking pretty bleak with a 115-85 deficit going into the final quarter.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “🔋 bodied up for two 🔋 #TakeNote | @thortontucker https://t.co/1SdQcsihPc” / Twitter
In the final quarter, Utah got career and season-bests in points. Fontecchio scored his career-high with 26 points, Jarrell Brantley (7/3/2) scored a season-high with seven points and Micah Potter (7 points and 1 assist) with seven points as well. Unfortunately for Potter, the highlight of the quarter put him on the bad end of a posterizing dunk from Thanasis Antetokounmpo (4/2/2). Though the loss came from the number one team in the league, Utah lost in an embarrassing fashion, 144-116.
Utah Jazz on Twitter: “high steppin’ & Micah’s jammin’ #TakeNote https://t.co/yosJ7cuWdz” / Twitter
Utah won’t have time to dwell on this loss as they head to the airport to face the Sacramento Kings for their final meeting of the season.