Milwaukee (5-3) at Utah (4-7)

Fair Currently: Salt Lake City, UT
Temp: 56° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Mon Nov 21, 2005
  • TV: KJZZ
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After strong starts last season, the Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks finished with two of the NBA’s worst records. Their recent play suggests they could be headed for a repeat.

The Jazz and Bucks, both struggling after a solid first week, look to end their slumps when they meet at the Delta Center.

Utah won six of its first seven games last season, then went on to finish 26-56. Now, the Jazz have lost five straight since winning four of their first six.

Utah fell 80-72 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Jazz rookie Deron Williams matched his career high with 21 points for the second straight game and added 10 assists, but got little help. Utah missed six field goals in the final minute.

The Jazz, who rank near the bottom of the league in field-goal percentage and turnovers, shot 37 percent and rarely got an uncontested shot. Utah has yet to reach the 100-point mark.

“You’ve got to learn to be tough in certain situations and not turn the ball over and get a decent shot every time you come down the court. You can’t bail out on screens,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

Greg Ostertag had a season-high seven blocks, but he and backup center Jarron Collins combined to shoot 0-for-6 from the field.

Milwaukee won three of its first four games in 2004-05, but finished in last place in the Central Division at 30-52. Since winning four of their first five this season, the Bucks have dropped two of three.

Milwaukee shot 36 percent in a 103-82 loss to Sacramento on Friday.

The Bucks never led and had trouble employing their two favorite offensive weapons: T.J. Ford’s dribble penetration and Michael Redd’s jumpers off screens.

Redd, one of the NBA’s top scorers, had 18 points but struggled to get open against the Kings’ defense. Ford was held to eight points on 3-of-6 shooting.

Joe Smith had a season-high 21 points and seven rebounds in the Bucks’ third stop on a four-game West Coast trip. Two nights earlier, Milwaukee snapped a 17-game road losing streak against Western Conference opponents with a 90-87 win at Golden State.

Bucks coach Terry Stotts has talked to his team about the importance of avoiding slow starts on the road.

“When you’re on the road, teams are going to come out and play well,” he said. “You’d like to play them even in the first quarter. It’s tough to dig a hole.”

Andrew Bogut, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, had just three points and eight rebounds but played solid defense. Bogut is averaging 7.5 points and 8.3 rebounds.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 20): Bucks - 4th place, 2 1/2 GB, Central Division. Jazz - 5th place, 2 GB, Northwest Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Bucks - F Bobby Simmons, F Smith, C Jamaal Magloire, G Redd, G Ford. Jazz - F Matt Harpring, F Mehmet Okur, C Ostertag, G Williams, G Gordan Giricek.

TEAM LEADERS: Bucks - Redd, 25.4 ppg; Magloire, 9.9 rpg; Ford, 9.3 apg. Jazz - Okur, 19.7 ppg and 8.5 rpg; Williams, 4.3 apg.

2004-05 SEASON SERIES: 1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 26; Jazz, 94-89. At Salt Lake City, Kris Humphries had 17 points to lead the Jazz.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bucks - 3-2 on the road; Jazz - 1-3 at home.

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