The Bucks are probably glad their annual visit to Utah is behind them.
Milwaukee dropped its 12th straight game at EnergySolutions Arena on Thursday night, when a late rally fell short in a 96-87 loss to the Jazz.
The Bucks haven’t won in Utah since Oct. 30, 2001.
Larry Sanders scored 16 points and Luke Ridnour added 12, but Milwaukee doomed itself with 4-for-22 shooting from the three-point line and 13 turnovers.
“We could not get over the hump,” said coach Larry Drew. “... It was just one of those nights. We didn’t play well. We were exposed off the dribble all game long. We have got to get better.”
The Bucks slipped to 7-25 this season — the worst record in the NBA. The Jazz improved to 11-24.
“... It seemed like we were fighting uphill the whole game,” Drew said. “We couldn’t come up with the timely plays when we needed to.”
Milwaukee trailed at halftime, 51-42. Gordon Hayward scored 13 of his team-high 22 points in the second quarter to lead Utah.
“The first half, I thought we were a little bit sluggish,” Drew said. “[But] going in at halftime time down only nine points, I still thought we were in good position. I was waiting for us to get that burst. I really was. But it didn’t seem to ever happen.”
In the second half, the Bucks got as close as 83-80 with just under four minutes remaining. But a pair of turnovers triggered a game-clinching 6-0 run by Utah.
Center Derrick Favors finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz. His backup, Enes Kanter, contributed 11 points and six rebounds in only 19 minutes.
“We have to put up resistance and tonight we didn’t do that,” Drew said. “... We were very tentative in the paint. They’re a team that really bangs around. Favors and Kanter are two big bodies. They really play with a physicality in the paint. You have to match their energy, their intensity [and] their physicality, but we didn’t do that.”
Sanders, who had his most productive outing of the season after missing the first 25 games with a thumb injury, credited Utah for making critical plays down the stretch.
“They stayed with it,” he said. “They are really good at executing their offense. They didn’t get rattled. They played really well. They withstood everything we threw at them.”