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Instant analysis: Jazz topple Bucks for sixth straight win

The Utah Jazz beat the Milwaukee Bucks 129-115 on Friday night at Vivint Arena, improving to 21-5 on the season

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (0) lobs the ball during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (0) lobs the ball during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021.
Annie Barker, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz beat the Milwaukee Bucks 129-115 on Friday night at Vivint Arena, improving to 21-5 on the season.

High notes

  • Joe Ingles, starting in place of Mike Conley who is still nursing a hamstring injury, came out of the gate hot on Friday. He hit three straight 3-pointers, came down on the next offensive possession, slid a perfect pocket pass to Rudy Gobert, who dunked with authority, then Ingles hit a fourth trey for good measure. That was all in about a three minute span. Ingles finished with 27 points and five assists and was a huge part of the Jazz getting going in the first half.
  • Listen, you’re not going to completely silence Giannis Antetokounmpo for an entire game, but Royce O’Neale did a really great job on him. There was certainly help from Gobert and Derrick Favors, and O’Neale got into foul trouble at one point, which took him out of the game and out of his rhythm a little bit. Antetokounmpo got going more in the second half, but O’Neale did a pretty good job with a tough assignment and the Jazz benefited because of it.

“He’s really tough to play against. I thought Royce just competed.” — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

  • That help from Gobert and Favors that I mentioned wasn’t just limited to defending Antetokounmpo. Gobert and Favors shared the floor quite a bit on Friday to combat some of the Bucks length with Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez. It was a pretty physical game and there were quite a few chippy moments, but the work that the Jazz’s two big men did was integral to the win. Gobert and Favors finished a combined 37 points and 18 rebounds.
  • Donovan Mitchell’s passing has been improving all season, but there were a couple of possessions late in the second quarter where Mitchell’s passes looked impossible. I don’t know how he pulled some of those off, but he did and it was beautiful. Part of the beauty is that when Mitchell drives he knows that there is going to be a shooter available to pass to when the defense collapses around him, but even so, some of those passes seem like they defy the laws of physics. There was one play where Mitchell flipped the ball across the court with one hand to Ingles through a couple long defenders and even Ingles wasn’t sure how it happened.

“I knew I was going to shoot it, but I was 50/50 on whether it was going to get through in that situation. But he makes that kind of one-handed — I don’t know what you guys call it in baseball — super cool pass, he makes it a lot.” — Joe Ingles

  • Mitchell picked up a technical foul late in the game for jawing at one of the officials for a no-call. The person to come over, take him by the shoulders and calmly walk him away was Gobert. How’s that for unsalvageable?

Low notes

  • Torrey Craig bit really hard on a Favors pump fake, jumping really high, and when Favors drove in, it flipped Craig feet-over-head in the air. When Craig hit the court he did so from pretty high up and it was a really scary moment. Incredibly, he got up and was able to get right back into the game. But those kind of moments are always scary and don’t always turn out so well.
  • Part of the reason for Antetokounmpo getting going in the second half was because the Jazz missed a lot of shots and had a lot of live-ball turnovers, both of which led to more transition opportunities for the Bucks.

Flat notes

  • Official Jonathan Sterling was set to be the third official for Friday’s game, but he was unable to officiate due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. While games have been officiated with two referees many times and they are totally capable, it wasn’t something that was expected to happen. I can’t say for certain that missing an official was the reason, but there were a lot of missed and late calls.
  • Georges Niang was playing a really well-rounded game against the Bucks and was really impressive on the defensive end, but in the fourth quarter it looked like he rolled his ankle. Here’s to hoping it’s not too bad because even in his limited time on the floor this season Niang has made some really nice progress.