EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Perfect Game plan and ball movement lead to blow of Bucks

SUMMARY: The Utah Jazz used electric ball movement and a brilliant game plan to exploit the Milwaukee Bucks in a 121-108 win.

• The Jazz set a franchise record 18 3-point makes and had brilliant ball movement all night. The Bucks are the most aggressive defense in the NBA; They double the ball off every pick and they over-shift to the strong side more than any team in the NBA. The Jazz were perfectly prepared for the Bucks’ defense and moved the ball all night, finishing with 31 assists. They ball faked, threw skip passes and toyed with the Bucks’ defense as though they were on strings on most of all their made shots.

• The Jazz got 10 corner-3 shots tonight and made seven of them. That is a huge amount. It is not the 20 they got last year against the Bucks, but it was still a lot. The Bucks have altered their defense to try to take away the corner-3 since they got so exploited last year.

• The Jazz have now beaten the Milwaukee Bucks in 16 straight games in Salt Lake City. It is the third longest streak by any home team in NBA history. The last time the Bucks won in Salt Lake was 2001

• The Jazz took 40% of their shots from 3. To do this without a bona fide one-on-one breakdown player is a tribute to the offense, the ball movement, the teamwork and the system.

• The Jazz came into the game number one in the league in setting picks and number one in passes made, which showed tonight as they abused the Bucks more and more on every pass and every pick.

• It didn’t feel like Giannis Antetokounmpo had a great night and he finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. That is a tribute to what an incredible player he is. He seemed unstoppable at times. It just felt normal.

• The Jazz only had 10 turnovers tonight despite all the passing. The Bucks are third in the NBA at forcing turnovers.

• Joe Ingles had a regular season career high with 9 assists tonight. He is also 21 of his last 31 from 3. That is absurd.

• Rodney Hood took over the game for a period and ended up with 21 points for his 12th straight game in double figures, which I believe is the longest streak of his career with double figures. He is a much better offensive player right now. He is above average in efficiency for the first time in his career and he is doing it with an increased usage rate.

• Donovan Mitchell has spurts where he just jumps off the floor. Whenever I watch a college game (rarely to be honest), my rule is an NBA player has to jump off the floor. A good example is when I was watching Stanley Johnson and this kid from UCLA kept jumping off the screen. It was Norman Powell. Donovan is doing this in NBA games. He is doing this against the best players in the world. To jump off the floor as an elite player in your first 20 games as a rookie is rarified air.

• The Jazz’s December schedule is brutal and Utah could play well and still lose almost of all of their games. At the same time, the Western Conference is not what we anticipated, and if the Jazz can stay above water it may turn out to be a nine-team race for eight spots.