As the Bucks’ on court play unfortunately seems as if it is continuing its drip down south for the offseason, the off the court drama is at an all-time high as the trade deadline nears. Who would have guessed that this team would be viewed as sellers at the deadline when the season first began?
Nonetheless, there is still a game being played tonight and we will provide you with a preview. The Bucks face off with the Jazz tonight in Salt Lake City, a place where Milwaukee has been a train wreck. Utah has won its last 13 straight home meetings against the Bucks and are determined to extend that streak. That’s not just one, but two re-brandings of the franchise in that time frame. Yeah, it’s been a while since the Bucks have won in Salt Lake City.
Every game is important for the Jazz at this point of the season. Their young core group of talent is continuing to develop and they are vying for the 8th seed in the West with a 23-25 record. They are battling Houston and Portland for the final spot in the Western Conference.
The Bucks will need to ignite their offense for any chance of ending the winless drought. However, that’s easier said than done, especially looking at the correlation between Utah’s home defense and win percentage. The Jazz are 16-0 when holding opponents under 90 points. They also play at the league’s slowest tempo with just 93 possessions per 48 minutes, meaning the Bucks will want to move the ball up the court fast and with a vengeance.
Utah has stressed having teams go up against its half-court defense and it has worked nicely for them. In their current four game win-streak, they have held three teams to 90 or fewer points. They have been getting nice contributions on the offensive side of the ball as well, headlined by Gordon Hayward. The sixth-year man out of Butler is averaging 21.8 points in his last ten games.
Going over to the Bucks, they continue to surge near the top of the league in three-point percentage at 46.1 percent, but the problem is that they take the second lowest attempts at 15.7 threes a game. Even though Milwaukee is near the top of the league in points off turnovers and points in the paint, the short number of threes and their inefficiency on defense is killing them.
The Bucks got a bright spot to their dismal season yesterday when the NBA announced that Khris Middleton was selected to the three-point contest. It will be Milwaukee’s first representative in the contest since Ray Allen.