SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Milwaukee Bucks showed why they have the best record in the NBA right now.
The Bucks handed the shorthanded Utah Jazz its worst blowout loss of the season, a 144-116 romp Friday night at Vivint Arena. 144 points is the most the Jazz have given up this year.
While former Jazz star Joe Ingles got a warm welcome home, it was another former Jazzman, Grayson Allen, who torched his old team with a season-high 25 points.
Allen made five 3-pointers and shot 57% from the field to help the Bucks lead wire-to-wire. The Jazz were never able to get within double digits in the second half.
“We almost had them,” joked Jazz head coach Will Hardy. “Wow. I mean credit to Milwaukee. They’re the best team in the NBA for a reason. Obviously, they played outstanding tonight.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 11 assists, and Pat Connaughton scored 22 points while making six 3-pointers. Jrue Holiday added 18 points and seven assists, and Brook Lopez had 17 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks.
Milwaukee made 22 3-pointers and shot 56% from the field to fuel its third straight victory.
Ingles, who played eight seasons with the Jazz, scored six points, making two three-pointers.
“With a team like that, you try to come out and limit as much opportunity as they have,” said Jazz guard Talen Horton-Tucker. “Tonight with us playing a zone, we knew that we were going to give them some threes, and they hit them tonight.”
Simone Fontecchio scored a career-high 26 points in his third career start to lead the Jazz. Kelly Olynyk had 16 points and seven rebounds. Talen Horton-Tucker added 13 points and eight assists as Utah dropped its second in a row at home.
“I just tried to stay aggressive,” said Fontecchio, who made 9 of 16 shots from the field. “Going inside the paint, it was not easy, especially at the beginning with Lopez blocking like five shots in the first half. But I just tried to stay aggressive and help my teammates.”
Milwaukee made eight 3-pointers and shot 50% from the perimeter during the first quarter. Allen set the pace by going 4 of 4 from the perimeter. He scored Milwaukee’s first four baskets and his final outside basket in the quarter gave the Bucks a 19-4 lead.
The Jazz cut the deficit to 22-17 on a 3-pointer from Johnny Juzang before Milwaukee ran away from Utah again before the first quarter ended. Jevon Carter scored three baskets over four possessions to fuel a 16-4 run that extended the Bucks’ lead to 38-21.
Utah trimmed the deficit to single digits again in the second quarter, cutting Milwaukee’s lead to 54-48 on back-to-back baskets from Olynyk and Walker Kessler. The Bucks countered with a 16-2 run punctuated by three straight baskets by Antetokounmpo to extend their lead again to 70-50.
Lauri Markkanen (left hand contusion) was inactive for the second time in three games. The Jazz next play at Sacramento Saturday night.