Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz
The 113-88 win over the Portland Trail Blazers marked a third straight win for Chicago and is a strong way to kick off a six-game road trip. The Bulls will work to keep that offense humming when they face one of the best defensive teams in the league at the Utah Jazz on Thursday (Enter Contest). The teams split two meetings last season, with each team winning on its own home court.
Defense was Chicago’s biggest issue during a stretch of four losses in five games to open November, but the Bulls held their last three opponents under 100 points and limited the Trail Blazers to 35.8 percent from the floor (and 9-of-34 from 3-point range) on Tuesday. Chicago outrebounded Portland 67-49 and scored 52 points in the paint as all five starters scored in double figures. It will be more difficult to control the glass against the Jazz, who have Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert up front with Trey Lyles coming off the bench. Favors and Gobert are both trying to bounce back from sub-par efforts after combining for 12 points, seven rebounds and one block in a 102-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
ABOUT THE BULLS (7-4)
Chicago brought in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo in the offseason, and the veteran presence is bringing a new level out of swingman Jimmy Butler. The 27-year-old scored 20 or more points in each of the last two games and led the way with 27 points, 12 rebounds and five assists on Tuesday. Rondo sat out Tuesday after suffering an ankle injury in Monday’s practice and is day-to-day.
ABOUT THE JAZZ (7-5)
Favors left Monday’s game in the fourth quarter with left knee soreness and did not return, and Gobert watched most of the fourth quarter from the bench as well. Favors will continue to be monitored carefully due to the recurring pain in his knee but the team is not yet planning to sit him for an extended period. Guards Rodney Hood (illness) and George Hill (thumb) sat out Monday and are both day-to-day.