SALT LAKE CITY -- If the Utah Jazz are tanking for one of the top picks in the 2014 NBA Draft, they're not doing a very good job of it lately.
Guard Gordon Hayward scored a game-high 22 points and center Derrick Favors had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Jazz to a 96-87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Jazz (11-24) used a 13-4 run in the final minutes to seal the victory over the Bucks (7-25) in a game between the two teams with the worst records in the NBA.
"Losing is not fun. When you're winning like that, there's like a different atmosphere in the team," Jazz backup center Enes Kanter said. "They (coaches) said, 'Don't look at their record. We're just going to go out there and play our basketball."
That basketball is a surprisingly good brand for Utah, which improved to 10-7 with its current starting lineup. The Jazz began the 2013-14 campaign with a 1-14 record.
Utah led by as many as 15 points, but Milwaukee charged back to within three points after center Larry Sanders capped a 7-0 run with a layup to make it 83-80 with 3:41 remaining.
The Jazz dominated the rest of the way to win their second game in a row and for the third time in four games.
"They stayed with it. They are really good at executing their offense," Sanders said of the Jazz. "They didn't get rattled. They played really well today. They withstood everything we threw at them."
Utah guard Alec Burks, who finished with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists, began a game-clinching 6-0 surge with a jumper.
Jazz rookie point guard Trey Burke and Favors followed with buckets to give the Jazz an 89-80 advantage with two minutes remaining.
"I think we are getting better and better each and every game," Burke said. "We are learning to play with each other and the chemistry is coming along. We just need to continue to fight."
Sanders had 16 points and eight rebounds and guard Luke Ridnour added 12 points for the Bucks, who were hoping to win for the second time this week on the road after picking up a 94-79 victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year's Eve.
"We could not get over the hump," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "We got it down to three and then we came out with two turnovers. ... It was just one of those nights. We didn't play well. We were exposed off the dribble all game long. We have got to be better."
The game started about as ugly as you'd imagine it might between two teams with a combined 17-48 record coming in. The Jazz and Bucks were tied at 20 after the first quarter.
Utah had a rare offensive explosion in the second quarter, taking a 51-42 lead into the locker room after outscoring the Bucks 31-22. Hayward had 13 points in the second quarter to lead the Jazz.
Backup point guard Diante Garrett, a Milwaukee native, scored a career-high 10 points for the Jazz.
This was the 12th win in a row in Utah for the Jazz, who play the Lakers at the Staples Center on Friday night. The Bucks, who have lost nine of 11 games, next play at Phoenix on Saturday.
Milwaukee again played without John Henson (ankle), Zaza Pachulia (foot) and Carlos Delfino (foot) because of injuries.
"Give them credit. They kept fighting," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of the Bucks. "I told the guys, 'These guys can make shots.' We needed to come in and play with a little more energy. I thought our second group did a great job all night for us."
NOTES: Coming into Thursday night's game, the Bucks had missed 106 player-games (in 31 actual games) because of injury and illness. Utah suffered from the injury bug early on, with rookie G Trey Burke and starting F Marvin Williams out to begin the season. But the Jazz have only missed 63 player-games to injury and illness. Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin feels Milwaukee coach Larry Drew's pain when it comes to injuries. "Everybody on the roster at some point has started for them, which is rare in this league," Corbin said. "Larry is doing the best job he can. They're playing better now that they're getting healthy." ... Williams has a fan in Drew, who was his coach his first seven years in the NBA at Atlanta. Drew was an assistant from 2005 to 2010 and the Hawks' head coach from 2010 to 2012. "He's my guy. I love that kid. He's just a good basketball player, but he's (also) a terrific kid," Drew said. "He's all about the right things as far as playing the right way. He's going to give you everything he has every time he steps out on the floor. He was one of my favorites while we were in Atlanta." ... The game featured two players from Turkey: Utah's Enes Kanter and Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova.