Jazz 112, Bucks 95
After struggling through his toughest stretch of the season, C.J. Miles felt primed for a breakout game.
``I felt like I needed to step up and contribute because we're really coming together as a team and I want to be part of that,'' Miles said.
Miles scored 19 points, Deron Williams had 18, and the Utah Jazz beat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-95 on Saturday night for their season-best fourth win in a row.
Miles, who had only scored 14 total points in his last three games and lost his starting spot to Andrei Kirilenko, connected on 8-of-11 shots and scored seven straight points for the Jazz as they pulled away in the third quarter.
``It was infectious,'' Miles said. ``Everybody got going. Everybody's hyped up. Everybody's playing hard. When we play defense like we did tonight, we're hard to beat because we have so many athletes that can run the floor.''
Williams, who aggravated a wrist injury and missed the dramatic end of Utah's 97-96 victory over Cleveland on Thursday, was a game-time decision but showed little effect as he sparked the Jazz to a quick start. Utah never trailed.
``We were slow from the very beginning,'' Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles said. ``We didn't seem to have any intention of coming out here and competing. And a team like that, they're going to build a lead on you.''
Mehmet Okur had 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer added 13 points and 12 boards as Utah stayed undefeated against Eastern Conference opponents at home (9-0).
Carlos Delfino scored a career-high 28 points to pace weary Milwaukee. Charlie Bell had 14 points for the Bucks, who fell to 1-4 on their six-game, 10-day road trip. Rookie Brandon Jennings made only one field goal after scoring 25 points Friday in a victory over Golden State.
With his team sputtering from the opening tipoff, Skiles replaced his entire starting lineup within the first four minutes of the game.
``We came out with no energy,'' Bucks center Andrew Bogut said. ``Our defense wasn't too good early. We just didn't bring it today.''
The Jazz pushed their advantage to as many as 19 points in the first half before settling for a 60-47 lead at the break. Delfino kept the contest competitive with four 3-pointers and 17 points in the first half.
Bell capped a string of eight straight points with a layup as the Bucks closed within 69-64 to mark the one uncomfortable moment for Utah.
``They fought back and put a little scare into us, but fortunately, we made some plays, got some stops and some rebounds that got us in the open court,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
The Jazz finished the third quarter with a flourish, as Paul Millsap scooped up a loose ball and beat the buzzer with a 25-foot jumper, his first 3-pointer of the season. The surprising shot was part of a 12-3 run that gave Utah a 89-71 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Jazz shot 56 percent to help them match their longest win streak of the season, set when they won four in a row from Nov. 26-Dec. 2.
``We're rolling now and really playing as a team. We're looking for each other and getting easy shots,'' Miles said.
Ersan Ilyasova had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Bogut had 10 points and 11 rebounds, but the Bucks were slow to match Utah's intensity and allowed 24 fast-break points. Milwaukee finishes its long road trip at Houston on Monday.
``We have to come out with more energy,'' Jennings said. ``The Jazz execute their offense so well it takes a lot out of you to try and stop them.''
NOTES: Kirilenko (knee) was injured during the Cleveland win and, like Williams, was a game-time decision but started the game and scored 12 points. Rookie Sundiata Gaines, who hit the winning shot against Cleveland, received a standing ovation when he entered the game with one minute left. Kurt Thomas played five scoreless minutes before picking up a technical in the first quarter. He did not play after that.