SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have been rather merciless when it comes to the way they treat other teams' hopes for victories this season.
The manner in which they've overpowered opponents in the second half, especially, might even be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
Even so, you won't hear Jerry Sloan nicknaming his team the Arena Assassins or the ESA Executioners.
The Jazz coach made that clear after his team's post-break performance proved fatal to yet another foe during Monday night's 109-88 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at EnergySolutions Arena.
Coming off big second-half surges in weekend wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, the Jazz held the Bucks to 15 fourth-quarter points and dominated down the stretch to win their third game in four days.
Quite the killer instinct they're honing, right?
"I wouldn't call it killer instinct. I don't look at our team as a bunch of killers," Sloan said. "I thought the biggest thing is they executed well and passed the ball."
Like the University of Utah on Saturday, the Jazz also held a block party by stuffing 10 Milwaukee shots.
Of course, the non-killers also had a rebounding party, winning the battle of the boards 48-26, along with a hot-shooting party (54.8 percent), a second-half-defensive party (Bucks shot 27.8 percent in the final two quarters) and an extend-the-win-streaks party. The Jazz have now won six consecutive games and four straight at home since falling to the San Antonio Spurs, 94-82, in Utah on Nov. 16.
"It was a nice win," Sloan said.
And it was one that didn't require one killer of a comeback for a change.
Utah (14-5) jumped out to a quick 10-point lead over the outmanned Bucks (6-11), who were without a bevy of players including the injured Andrew Bogut.
Led by Brandon Jennings' 27 points — and some hot outside shooting early on — the Bucks actually battled back to take a two-point lead in the first half to make an unexpected game out of the lopsided match-up.
"They've got a lot of guys out of their lineup," Sloan said, "so they're scratching as much as they can. Give them a lot of credit for hanging in there and fighting the way they did."
But the Jazz, as they've done in oh-so-many comebacks, completely dominated Milwaukee in the latter portion of the game.
Utah outscored the Bucks 29-15 in the fourth quarter, holding the visiting victims to 22.2 percent shooting in the final period.
Al Jefferson said the Jazz knew the Bucks were a scary squad to play against because players who don't normally get playing time want to come out and prove themselves to their coach against the Jazz.
"Them are the teams that's dangerous," Jefferson said. "We knew that we couldn't let them just hang around. We've got to go and put them away."
Milwaukee was even within five points near the end of the third quarter before the Jazz went on a 13-0 run to euthanize the Bucks' winning thoughts.
Six Jazz players scored in double figures, led by 22 points apiece from Deron Williams (also 10 assists) and Jefferson (11 rebounds and four blocks).
Andrei Kirilenko had a solid and energetic all-around game with 13 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.
And the Jazz once again got strong support from their Spark and Spunk reserves as Earl Watson scored a season-high 12 points with seven assists and six rebounds, while Ronnie Price chipped in 10 points.12 comments on this story
The win over Milwaukee kicked off a six-game homestand for the Jazz, who have rekindled their home-court advantage with four victories in a row at ESA. The next team to put its head on the guillotine: Indiana on Wednesday.
"You always want to take care of the ones on paper you're supposed to win, especially at home," Jazz starting shooting guard Raja Bell said. "We have a chance here to maybe string a few wins together on our home court and we'd like to do that., and tonight was a good start."