Jazz 100, Bucks 86

Enes Kanter had been in a major slump his last three games,

shooting a combined 3 of 13 for seven points.

The big man was a difference-maker Wednesday night in Utah’s

100-86 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

The second-year Jazz player from Turkey started 6 for 6 from the

field, including 5 of 5 with five rebounds, a block and an assist

in the second quarter as Utah took control after trailing by 12

points in the first.

”He hit the sophomore wall, as I call it, but he bounced

back,” Jazz starting center Al Jefferson said of Kanter’s recent

struggles. ”I just told him to start relaxing and just let the

game come to him. That’s what he did.

”Everybody knows he’s mad talented. Everyone knows what he can

do. Sometimes your body just (doesn’t) want to agree with your

mind. Sometimes you’ve just got to fight through it and I think he

did that.”

Paul Millsap and Jefferson each scored 19 points while Kanter

had 17 and a career-high five blocks in 17 minutes for the Jazz,

who improved to 28-22.

Utah’s big men had a huge game, with Derrick Favors adding nine

points and 11 rebounds.

Kanter set the tone late in the first quarter as Milwaukee

forward John Henson tried to drive the lane.

Henson looked as if he had run into a brick wall, with Kanter

forcing a jump ball.

”He was playing smart and playing big inside,” Jazz coach

Tyrone Corbin said. ”I thought he made some great passes,

too.”

It was a stark contrast to Saturday night in Portland, where

Kanter laid a goose egg, shooting 0 of 7 for zero points.

”Every time I have had a game like up in Portland, I am just

sitting down and just talking to Big Al and my coaches,” Kanter

said. ”That’s helped me. I’m just young. I just go out there and

fight. That’s what I try to do.”

Jefferson, who could see the 20-year-old Kanter eventually

taking his job – arguably one reason Big Al is the constant source

of trade rumors – is there to support his protege.

”Every time I have a bad game and I’ve struggled, he sits down

with me and talks to me,” Kanter said of Jefferson. ”(He says),

`You’ll get through this. Just keep your head up.”’

Utah dominated inside as the Bucks were without the NBA’s

leading shot blocker, Larry Sanders, because of a back injury

sustained Tuesday night in Denver. The Jazz held a 31-10 advantage

on second-chance points and a 56-36 edge on points in the

paint.

”They did a good job of eating glass,” Bucks forward-center

Drew Gooden said. ”That was the difference in the game.”

Jefferson and Favors led Utah with 11 rebounds apiece, and the

Jazz had a 50-37 advantage on the boards.

Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova led Milwaukee with 17 points

apiece.

Samuel Dalembert, coming off a career night in which he scored

35 points in a loss at Denver, was held to 10 points on 4-of-8

shooting. He finished with 11 rebounds and four blocks.

”When Sam is out there, we have a little more beef,” Bucks

coach Jim Boylan said. ”We are a thin team, that is our makeup. .

And when we go up against the teams that have big, physical front

lines, it’s a problem for us. . Sometimes it’s the sheer size

that’s thrown up against us. It wears you down a little bit and it

was evident tonight.”

The Bucks pulled to 90-81 on Dalembert’s free throws with 3:24

left, but he was called for goaltending on the next Jazz

possession.

Utah was never threatened after that.

Milwaukee shot 35.4 percent (29 of 82) and just 6 of 19 from

3-point range. Mike Dunleavy had a particularly tough night, going

3 of 13 for 10 points.

”I couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” Dunleavy said.

He refused to use injuries as an excuse, noting that Utah is

without starting point guard Mo Williams, backup Earl Watson and

third-leading scorer Gordon Hayward.

”You have to deal with that during the course of the season,”

Dunleavy said. ”It’s no excuse. We had a lot of good looks that

didn’t go down and maybe took the wind out of our sails.”

Utah led by 15 after three quarters as Milwaukee shot just 26.3

percent in the third. The Jazz kept the pressure on with Marvin

Williams hitting a 3-pointer and DeMarre Carroll (11 points)

scoring on a fast-break layup after Favors stuffed Dunleavy at the

other end.

Early on, the Bucks looked as though they might be able to break

through in Salt Lake City after losing 10 straight, their last win

coming in October 2001.

They led by 12 in the first quarter, with Ilyasova having the

hot hand early.

Kanter then took over in the second.

His three-point play gave Utah a 37-33 lead with 6:30 remaining

in the half. Five of his six first-half field goals came after he

grabbed an offensive rebound or loose ball and went up strong.

In 9 minutes in the first half, Kanter led all scorers with 13

points. He also had seven rebounds, two blocks and an assist as

Utah led by as many as 12 in the second, 49-37.

”He is really embracing who he is and on this team the guys are

really understanding who he is,” Corbin said.

NOTES: Hall of Fame power forward Karl Malone reiterated during

a radio show that he would like to help coach the Jazz players.

Asked if that could happen, Corbin said, ”Who knows?” but noted

that he likes his current staff. … Hayward (sprained right

shoulder) missed his sixth straight game but has been taking shots

during practice. … Bucks F Marquis Daniels got the start over Luc

Mbah a Moute, who did not dress because of a sore right knee. …

Dunleavy converted a four-point play with 11:10 left in the second

after being fouled on a 3-pointer.