SALT LAKE CITY — News of Derrick Rose’s recent absence from the Cleveland Cavaliers as he reconsiders his NBA future is the talk of the league.
One of the guys paying close attention is injured Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker.
The former Duke star visited Salt Lake City over the weekend as the Bucks lost to the Utah Jazz, 121-108 Saturday.
As Parker continues to rehab from his second knee injury, the member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is pulling for his fellow Chicagoan while injuries continue to rob him of his former MVP skill set.
“It’s definitely hard to put yourself in his shoes,” Parker said of Rose.
Parker has known Rose since he was a child and followed his footsteps at Simeon Career Academy in Chicago.
“A lot of people are giving him a lot of crap for it, but he’s just been at the point where it never really worked out for him and whatever he’s feeling comfortable doing at that time is up to him,” Parker said.
UNSELFISH APPROACH: It’s tough to guard the Utah Jazz when the team is moving and cutting.
The Milwaukee Bucks were forced to chase guys like Rodney Hood, Thabo Sefolosha, Alec Burks and Donovan Mitchell around as the Jazz displayed both on-and-off-the-ball movement in Saturday night’s 121-108 win.
Utah tied the season high with 31 assists, led by Joe Ingles’ career-high nine assists with 15 points off five 3-pointers.
“We obviously scouted on how we were going to play,” said Ingles. “They’re aggressive in pick-and-rolls. We knew that, and we made the right play. Ekpe (Udoh) and (Derrick Favors) were great in getting that half-roll and making the right play out of it. We executed well.”
Ricky Rubio also dished out seven dimes with 11 points, while rookie Mitchell distributed four assists in addition to his team-high 24 points. His instinctive touch pass to find a cutting Sefolosha underneath the rim near the end of the third was indicative of how the night was going for the Jazz.
Much of that came down to guys knowing where to be on the floor and being spaced in the right position for success.
“Usually when you make the right plays you get rewarded, both the guy getting the shot and the guy that is making the pass,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “We’re getting better at passing the ball as a group collectively. It’s been a point of emphasis, whether it’s using ball fakes or not looking down a pass or passing it quickly.”
RECORD-SETTING NIGHT: Not only did the Jazz set a record with 18-made 3-pointers, first-year guard Mitchell tied Wesley Matthews’ franchise rookie record with his sixth game of 20 or more points. Mitchell’s six 3-pointers were another career-high after going 0-for-3 from beyond the arc on Wednesday.
NO LUCK IN UTAH: The Milwaukee Bucks have lost 16 straight games in Utah, which is the league’s third-longest home winning streak against a team. Milwaukee hasn’t won in Salt Lake City since Oct. 30, 2001.