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- The Milwaukee Bucks will be without starting center Larry Sanders tonight. Sanders injured his lower back when he was knocked to the ground while trying to block a dunk attempt by the Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried on Tuesday night. Samuel Dalembert will start in Sanders’ place against the Utah Jazz. “He’s sore,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said of Sanders. “There’s no structural damage. He just has a bruise and he’ll be day-to-day.”
- It’s bad timing for Milwaukee to miss Sanders. The Bucks, who do have some frontcourt depth, will be going against Utah’s big front line tonight. “They’ve got a big physical team and Larry’s presence around the basket will be missed tonight,” Boylan said. “The other guys will just have to step up and fill that void for us. (Dalembert) played well last night so hopefully he can piggyback off that again tonight.”
- Dalembert didn’t just play well against Denver. He had a career game with 35 points and 12 rebounds in 27 minutes. Obviously, the Bucks can use some more of that production tonight. “Sometimes you have a game like that where everything starts clicking for you,” Boylan said. “He was making his perimeter shots. He was active around the basket. He got tip-ins where he just swatted at the ball and it went in. It was just one of those games for Sam. We’re hoping it carries over tonight.”
- The Bucks did get some good lineup news for tonight’s game as reserve Marquis Daniels has rejoined the team. He missed the first of a two-game road trip in the Mountain time zone at Denver because of personal reasons.
- Utah’s Gordon Hayward will miss his sixth straight game because of a right shoulder sprain. Reserve point guard Earl Watson, who is dealing with lower right leg injuries, will dress for tonight’s game but isn’t expected to play. Second-year guard Alec Burks will continue to get playing time at point guard with Watson and Mo Williams both out. Burks played the entire fourth quarter and overtime against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night and helped the Jazz pull out the victory. “We need to continue to play him,” said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. “He deserves to play minutes on the floor. With the way he’s playing and the way we can use him on the ball and off the ball he can help us with our pace.”
- The Bucks will be trying to break a 10-game losing streak in Utah. Boylan said the past won’t be a factor tonight. “It’s a new new year,” he said. “We’re out here for one game a year. We’re playing well on the road so we’re just going to try and continue to do that and not worry about any streaks.”
– Andrew Aragon