SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz say they don’t care who scores as long as they keep winning.
Sure looked that way Friday night.
Rudy Gobert had 27 points and 12 rebounds, and the Jazz beat the Milwaukee Bucks 129-115 for their sixth straight victory.
Joe Ingles tied his career high with 27 points as Utah won for the 17th time in 18 games to improve to an NBA-best 21-5. Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points, and Jordan Clarkson had 25.
Ingles, who had a hand in the Jazz’s first 14 points with four 3-pointers and a pass to Gobert for a thunderous dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo, joked about Utah’s team-oriented approach.
“Obviously, Donovan finally let me get a couple shots early tonight, which he usually doesn’t, because he’s so selfish,” Ingles cracked.
But Mitchell was serious about Ingles’ effect on the game.
“Joe getting hot … and Rudy getting in there finishing the dunk like that – that’s the tone we want to set from the beginning,” Mitchell said.
Antetokounmpo scored 27 of his 29 points in the second half, but Milwaukee dropped its second straight game after a five-game win streak. Brook Lopez had 23 points, and Khris Middleton finished with 18.
Antetokounmpo said he noticed how much the Jazz are enjoying their time together this season.
“It just looks fun. When I watch them play, it looks fun, it looks easy, it looks simple,” he said.
On the other hand, the reigning NBA MVP said the Bucks need to “know our roles. We got to know what we’re about. Visually, we got to stay in our lanes. Do what you do. Be a star in your role.”
The Jazz led by as many as 21 when Mitchell fed Derrick Favors for an alley-oop layup to make it 89-68 with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
Mitchell’s 3 sparked a 14-5 run to end the first half, and the Bucks never got the deficit within single digits again.
“When we want to play the right way, no one cares who scores, and no one knows who’s going to score in a given possession,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said.
The Bucks had scored at least 120 points in a franchise-record six straight games, but they often looked out of sync against the Jazz’s multiple defensive looks.
“They’re a good defensive team. They make things hard on you,” Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer said. “The key against a good defense: If you do get clean looks, you got to make more of those.”
Antetokounmpo, guarded primarily by Royce O’Neale at 6-foot-6, scored only two points in the first half after finishing with a season-high 47 on Wednesday against Phoenix. That’s the fewest he’s had in a half since last season at Utah.
“Obviously, I wanted to be more aggressive in the first half, but it wasn’t there,” Antetokounmpo said.
THIS TIME AROUND
Utah knocked down a franchise-record 25 3-pointers in a 131-118 victory at Milwaukee on Jan. 8. This time, the Jazz got a lot of their points by driving to the basket and getting to the line. They went 14 for 38 from beyond the arc and 29 for 34 at the free-throw line.
“We can score in different ways,” Gobert said. “It’s really, really tough to guard when a team has so many guys that can score and shoot the ball like that.”
Bill Kennedy and Brian Forte were the only two officials on the court. Jonathan Sterling was unavailable because of COVID-19 protocols.
Bucks: Jrue Holiday sat out his third game in a row due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols for COVID-19. … Pat Connaughton matched his career high with three steals.
Jazz: Mike Conley missed his third consecutive game with a tight hamstring. … The Jazz packed the paint all game on defense and picked up two defensive 3-second violations along the way.
Bucks: Finish their six-game road trip on Sunday at Oklahoma City.
Jazz: Host the Miami Heat on Saturday.