NBA: Jordan Clarkson leads Jazz past Bucks

NBA: Jordan Clarkson leads Jazz past Bucks


Jordan Clarkson Jazz NBA

Utah Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson drives by Milwaukee Bucks’ Chris Livingston during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Milwaukee. The Jazz won 132-116. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MILWAUKEE — Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen had 21 points apiece and the Utah Jazz staved off a second-half rally for a 132-116 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, who absorbed their fourth loss in five games.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 25 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for the Bucks.

John Collins, Collin Sexton and Keyonte George each had 19 points for Utah, which has won five of its last six and is 11-4 over its last 15 games.

“That’s a good win,” Markkanen said. “It’s not easy to lead by 30. It’s hard to keep that up. We knew that they were going to make a run at some point, and really still stay poised and really grind it out, it was a good win.”

Milwaukee was without guard Damian Lillard, averaging 25.1 points per game, who was out for personal reasons. Khris Middleton added 23 points and Malik Beasley 17 for the Bucks.

“You’ve got to stay together, that’s it,” Antetokounmpo said. “If you try to go your way or do it yourself, it’s not going to work. We’ve been in this position before. It’s OK to be in this position … but then again, at the end of the day, we have to get better. We have to realize that we have keep on doing the little things.”

The Bucks, who trailed 77-46 at the half, scored 44 points in the third quarter to pull within 100-90 entering the final period.

The Jazz opened the fourth quarter with a 9-2 run, going in front 109-92 on a drive by Clarkson. Brook Lopez scored on a dunk to pull the Bucks within 111-103 with 6:52 remaining.

“We flipped it a little bit as far as our energy and effort, and we made it a ballgame, but you in the NBA you just can’t dig yourself in a hole like that,” Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said. “And then you’ve got to play extremely hard and exert a lot of energy just to try to get back into the game.”

The Jazz, who were 14 of 64 from 3-point range in their two previous games, hit 11 of 17 from beyond the arc in the first quarter en route to a 41-23 lead.

The Jazz hit 28 of 53 shots for 52.8%, including 16 of 30 from deep, and had five players score in double figures by halftime.

The Bucks opened the third quarter with a 15-4 run, pulling within 81-16 on a 3-point play by Antetokounmpo.

“I think the first possession, Lauri Markkanen had a 3 and after that, everything just went downhill,” Antetokounmpo said. “They had 11 in first quarter, 16 for the half. That’s a lot 3s, man, I’m not going to lie. We’ve got to do a better job of defending the 3. But at the end of the day, if you don’t defend the 3, don’t defend the drive, you don’t get rebounds … just got to find our identity.”

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Jazz: Host Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

Bucks: Host Boston Celtics on Thursday.


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