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Sport News Butler and Hughes clinch comeback victory over Milwaukee

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The regular season may be a week away, but Vivint Arena fans didn’t act like that on Wednesday night.

Led by a spirited fourth-quarter rally of Jared Butler and Elijah Hughes, Utah came back from behind to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-120 in their final preseason game of the year.

“This group, I really challenged them to raise their level, whether it’s defense or running,” said head coach Quin Snyder. “He (Butler) was the catalyst for them. … I think these guys did a really good job when they were in play. It’s important because those minutes are coming, being ready to compete right away. … These little things attract attention. We make them important, and I thought these guys were doing it more and more as the game progressed for them. “

Fans were forced to wait for Butler to make his home debut as the rookie goalie missed Monday’s game against Dallas due to an illness unrelated to COVID.

But the wait seemed worth it.

Butler proved he belonged to the league finishing with 16 points, seven assists, three rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes of action.

“He’s been in the league for a long time,” Donovan Mitchell said of Butler after the game.

Butler never wavered when guarded by Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, widely regarded as one of the league’s top defensive guards. He controlled the pace and knew when to attack the rim, be aggressive with his shot, or find the open man in the corner.

“I think Jared strikes a balance between his ability to create, whether it’s for himself or his teammates, and just his habits of getting used to playing with people,” Snyder said. “I think he’s learning. If I could get away from analyzing every piece of his game.… I thought he had improved throughout the game.

Regardless, his decision making and ability to be in constant attack mode is why he presents a strong case for being a part of Snyder’s rotation in the regular season.

“I hope so,” Butler said when asked if he had argued to be part of the rotation. “I think it’s all about trust. … If I’m a head coach and playing with the team with the best record in the league, why do I need to bring in this rookie? This is how I see it, and I’m just trying to make it clear why you should. “

As this was the last game of the preseason, Snyder continued his starting lineup and usual rotations throughout the first half.

Mike Conley started early with a pair of threes in the opening minutes while Mitchell took advantage of the lags defensively and relentlessly attacked the rim. Add Bogdanovic’s 14 points, and the three of them combined for 39 of Utah’s 63 points in the first half.

The back-and-forth battle in the first 24 minutes gave the feeling of a regular season game with each team scoring and performing at a high level on offense, Utah taking a 63-61 lead. at the break.

Snyder chose to rest the starters for the second half, with Jordan Clarkson, Eric Paschall, Hassan Whiteside, Butler and Miye Oni as the starters.

Whiteside played exceptionally well, looking much more comfortable on both sides of the court.

“I thought Hassan was really good defensively,” Snyder said. “Really competed, I was happy.”

This unit was able to keep pace with the Bucks, who went with their starters to start the final 24 minutes.

With both teams taking a break from their regular rotations in the fourth quarter, the Jazz overcame an eight-point deficit with just over six minutes to go and clinched the win.

Utah ended the game on an 18-6 streak as Hughes scored his 12 points in that span.

Clarkson led six Jazz players in double digits with 18 points, adding a high of eight rebounds in 23 minutes. Conley finished with 13 points while Mitchell added 12, all in the first half for both.

Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo (six rebounds, five assists) led the Bucks with 25 and 21 points, respectively. Holiday added 13 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Brook Lopez finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

Utah now has six days off before the regular season begins against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, October 20. To purchase tickets, click on HERE.