Bucks play flat in loss to Jazz

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) goes to the basket as Utah Jazz forward John Collins, lower left, looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lauri Markkanen scored 21 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 123-108 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night.

Collin Sexton scored 19 points to help the Jazz snap a three-game losing streak. John Collins added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Keyonte George had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jazz outscored the Bucks 40-13 in the fourth quarter.

Defensively, Utah tallied 15 points off seven turnovers over the final 1½ quarters. The Jazz also allowed only four baskets over the final 12 minutes.

“We were getting stops so it kind of feeds into the offense,” Markkanen said. “You always look at offense and defense separately, but they really go hand in hand. You get stops, you get out and run and then you get good shots.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 33 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds. Bobby Portis added 27 points and Malik Beasley had 16. Damian Lillard added 12 points, six assists, and a season-high two blocks as Milwaukee played without starters Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton.

The Bucks scored 19 points off 16 Utah turnovers and did not give up a point off a turnover until late in the third quarter.

Everything unraveled in the fourth quarter when Milwaukee could not knock down a shot for long stretches.

“I don’t think it was the energy, I think we need to make shots,” Antetokounmpo said. “It was a lot of wide-open shots that we didn’t make. You make one or two, the momentum stops and it’s a whole different game.”

After trailing by 19 points, Utah erased the deficit in the fourth quarter. Kelly Olynyk and Markkanen made back-to-back 3-pointers to start a 19-3 run that put the Jazz up 104-102 with 6:26 left. Markkanen capped the rally with a second go-ahead 3-pointer.

Milwaukee briefly retook a one-point lead on a layup from Antetokounmpo before the Jazz pulled away for good. Utah scored on six straight possessions — bookended by baskets from George — to extend its lead to 123-108 with less than a minute left.

“We couldn’t script better shots,” Bucks coach Doc Rivers said. “Every shot was wide open, but everything was front rim.”

The Bucks ended up losing the second game of a back-to-back set for just the second time this season. They were not able to contend with Utah’s depth in the final minutes.

Milwaukee extended its lead to 61-42 before halftime after Antetokounmpo tipped in a layup to cap a string of six straight possessions where the Bucks scored.


Bucks: At Phoenix on Tuesday night.


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