Game 47: Chicago Bulls (26-20) at Utah Jazz (21-25)
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena – Salt Lake City
Time: 8:00 p.m. central
TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Root Sports
The Bulls and Jazz will meet up for the first time this regular season Monday night. The Bulls will be ending out their back-to-back series while the Jazz will just be starting out the week.
The Jazz may be below .500 at the moment, and they only average 97.7 points per game, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a team to worry about. Considering the Bulls’ inconsistent play thus far, really every team can be considered a concern.
In fact, the Jazz currently shoot 44.4 percent from the field, which is just one percent behind the Bulls. The Jazz attempt almost eight less shots than the Bulls, but the Bulls only make about three more shots than the Jazz do per game.
That being said, the Bulls need to make sure they step up their defense, especially when considering the fact the Jazz now have Derrick Favors back. Combine his production with Gordon Hayward, and the Jazz have their two leading scorers to use as threats to a questionable Bulls team. Favors’ return also means the Bulls need to be more attentive while rebounding — the Jazz’s starting bigs, Favors and Rudy Gobert average 18.8 rebounds per game, so they can put up a good fight with the Bulls’ starting frontcourt of Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson.
Matchup of the Game
Jimmy Butler versus Gordon Hayward
Butler is coming off a tough shooting night, 8-for-22 from the field, as well as a tough loss Sunday afternoon. That being said, Butler may come into the game motivated to have a comeback game for himself and his team. He’ll have to get through Hayward to do so, though, and Hayward is having a heck of a season.
Hayward is averaging a career-high 19.8 points on 43.6 percent shooting. He’s also posting 5.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game and is the Jazz’s outright leading scorer.
Jan. 31: Bulls lose to Los Angeles Clippers, 120-93
From our the “Quick Take” of our Fast-Break Recap:
The Bulls opened up Sunday’s matinee with a 6-0 run, but it wasn’t long until the Clippers caught up. From there, the two teams stayed close, but neither team would pull ahead until the second half; however, Jamal Crawford‘s 10-point second quarter assisted the Clippers in heading into halftime with a 51-47 lead.
Despite the deficit, the Bulls stayed in the game, at first.
The Bulls’ starters combined for 15 points in the first six minutes of the third quarter. Soon enough, the Bulls put some of their bench in, but couldn’t get quite the same production. They went scoreless for over three minutes but managed to score seven points in the last 2:11, but the Clippers, led by J.J. Redick‘s 11 points in the third, already had enough momentum to end the quarter with a double-digit lead.
It was too much for the Bulls to overcome after that. They put up 20 points in the fourth period, but failed to score again after E’Twaun Moore‘s bucket at the 4:35 mark. Meanwhile, the Clippers kept on rolling. Crawford scored eight points to open the quarter to contribute to the Clippers’ game-high 36 points in the fourth quarter.
Jan. 29: Jazz defeat Minnesota Timberwolves, 103-90
Hayward’s dunk with five seconds to go in the first half gave the Jazz a 56-53 lead, but Minnesota’s Zach LaVine made a 23-foot jumper to cut the point differential to just one point. Despite that, the Jazz had a strong third quarter: They outscored the Timberwolves 26-14, and it decided the game. Both teams scored 21 points in the final period, so the Timberwolves didn’t produce enough to overcome their third-quarter deficit.
A previous version of this article stated that the Bulls had a 26-11 record. Apologies for the error.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.