SALT LAKE CITY — The Milwaukee Bucks have been one of the NBA's best defensive teams all season and entered Saturday night's game against Utah holding opponents to 43.2 percent shooting — the third-best mark in the league.
The Jazz have turned up their defense since the All-Star break and allowed only one team to score more than 82 points in five games.
So it was no surprise they played a ragged game, combining for 45 turnovers and missing most of their shots as the Jazz held on for an 82-75 victory over Milwaukee.
"Our whole team is evolving (defensively)," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "It's no one guy. It becomes infectious. Guys start having pride in that. I think we're seeing some of that evolving.
"It's not often you only score 11 points in a quarter and only lose the quarter by four. Hopefully we can be a little more efficient on offense."
Snyder was speaking of the third quarter, when the Bucks opened with a 14-4 run before Utah closed the period with a 7-0 surge, including a tying 3-pointer from Trey Burke. The Jazz run gave them a 58-54 lead going into the fourth, and they never relinquished it.
Burke made baskets when the Jazz absolutely needed them, finishing with 23 points, six assists and only one turnover. He scored five points late in the third, drained a 3-pointer early in the fourth shortly after the Bucks cut the lead to one, and tossed an alley-oop pass to Rudy Gobert to push the lead to 70-63.
"We couldn't keep him out of the paint," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. "He got to the basket and made some 3s. Also, he is a talented player. For us we have to do better at keeping the little guys out of the paint."
Derrick Favors added 16 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals for the Jazz, who have won consecutive games for the sixth time this season. They are yet to win three in a row.
Gobert had 12 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
"We were just physical," Favors said. "They go out there and play small and we switched out a lot. Just made them take tough shots. We're just physical with them.
"We didn't hold our heads down when Milwaukee went on a run and we missed some shots. Just stayed in it and kept fighting."
Khris Middleton had 18 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Bucks. Michael Carter-Williams finished with 16 points in his third game since being traded from the 76ers.
"We're not shooting the ball exceptionally well," Carter-Williams said. "It will come to us and we will get a rhythm, get things going."
Bucks: F Jared Dudley did not play due to a bruised left knee. ... O.J. Mayo played 27:15 after missing the previous two games. He was held out Wednesday against the 76ers with a sore right hamstring. Mayo didn't play Friday against the Lakers, but that was officially listed as a coach's decision. ... F Giannis Antetokounmpo has struggled shooting recently and didn't take a single shot in the first half. He entered averaging 12 points per game and finished with eight.
Jazz: The minute restrictions for Rodney Hood are being modified since his return from a foot injury. The goal was 5 minutes per half in his first two games and now it's increased to 10 per half. ... The Jazz begin a four-game road trip Tuesday at Memphis.
Gobert entered with 21 blocks in the last five games, including six against the Nuggets on Friday. He had three in the first half, but didn't have any in the second quarter.
"Our defense has always kept us in games throughout," Kidd said. "Sometimes we feel sorry for ourselves offensively when the ball isn't going in. We get some good looks, and then doing the little things. We've kind of forgotten that that is what we built this on — doing the little things."
Bucks: At the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.
Jazz: At the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
All content copyright ©2015 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.