Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan knew exactly where to look when seeking a reason for Utah’s 100-86 victory over the Bucks on Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
“They just dominated us in the paint,” Boylan said. “Our guys battled, but they are a physical team. That’s their strength, and they took advantage of it.”
The Jazz’s four power players — Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter — combined for 66 points, 37 rebounds and 12 blocked shots.
“We are a thin team,” Boylan said. “That’s our makeup. We spread the floor and play that style of game. When we go against teams that have big, physical front lines, it’s a problem for us.”
Boylan continued: “... Sometimes it’s the sheer size that’s thrown against us. It wears you down a little bit, and that was evident tonight.”
The Jazz outrebounded the Bucks, 50-37. Utah grabbed 17 offensive rebounds.
“They did a good job of eating glass,” said Drew Gooden. “... I think that was the difference in the game.”
Playing without injured starters Larry Sanders (back) and Luc Mbah a Moute (knee), the Bucks also struggled to score. They shot only 35.4 percent, including 6-for-19 from the 3-point line.
“... Even when we were able to start defending a little better,” Boylan said, “we went down on the other end and were unable to convert a lot of pretty open shots.”
Mike Dunleavy finished with 10 points, but he missed 10 of his 13 field-goal attempts.
“I couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” he said, “ and they obviously hurt us inside with offensive rebounds and post-ups. It was just really a tough night.”
Dunleavy declined to blame the Bucks’ injury situation for the sub-par performance in Utah.
“The Jazz are playing without a few of their key guys, too,” he said. “So you just have to deal with it during the course of a season. It’s no excuse.”