The Bulls (19-23) are back on the sidelines with an impressive 120-95 home loss to the Utah Jazz (31-11).
Here are 12 ideas:
1. The Bulls got off to another strong start, even getting their first 8 points in the paint on a 4-for-4 shot despite Rudy Gobert’s presence. At a 3:01 mark in the first quarter, the Bulls led the Jazz 23-20 and had held the visitors to a 6-for-18 shooting.
2. That’s when the trouble started. Zach LaVine, who scored 8 points in nine minutes in the first quarter, took a look and the Jazz went on a 19-0 run to a 39-23 lead. LaVine re-entered at 8:09 mark of the second with the Bulls down 39-25.
3. In those seven minutes, the Bulls missed 13 of their 14 bullet attempts with a save mostly on the floor (Donovan started the second with Coby White, Ryan Arcidiacono, Denzel Valentine and Luke Kornet). It reveals a slight imbalance between the starting units and the Bulls’ defense, which Tomáš Satoranský overcame the opposite and promoted Tad Young to the starting line.
4. Utah won the 43-27 mountain points battle behind 33 points combined from Jordan Clarkson (16) and Joe Ingles (17). And that total number of Bulls was wrapped up in a waste time.
5. The Bulls held a stage from there to a 56-42 run at half-time. In a game they marched with 14 points, LaVine (+3), Thad Young (+3), Patrick Williams (+3) and Satoranský (+1) had positive plus-minuses, and the stores added ri -4 Markkanen. LaVine (13 points, 3-for-5 from a 3-point range) and Young (10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) were particularly prolific.
6. The Jazz were led by Donovan Mitchell, who scored 21 points in the first two quarters and hit four points-3. He finished with 30 flat points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, shooting 5-for-8 from a 3-point range.
7. The Jazz opened the third quarter on a 10-3 run to pull Jazz 66-45 ahead before the Bulls’ first and almost looked back. They shot 56.5 percent in time (5-for-10 from a 3-point range) and led 89-71 going into the fourth. in the first 3:08. The Bulls drew within 14 early in the fourth, but never drew closer.
8. Markkanen made his first bucket, a good driver and a finish over Gobert. He then missed his next nine hits – seven from a 2-point range and two from 3. He looked out at the 8:07 mark in the third quarter and did not return to the 7:21 mark of the fourth. – nearly 13 minutes on the sidelines – with the Bulls pulling 20 points.
A mop-up time spurt pushed the Markkanen line to 8 points and 7 rebounds (3-for-12 shooting) for the evening. However, he recorded 19 minutes at a low, with the exception of games he left early due to injury. He now averages 11 points and shoots 35.4 percent (7-for-23 from a 3-point range) in his last four games.
9. The Jazz have gone into 6-6 appearances in their last 12 games, but with the best record (30-11) and the net rating (+7.6) in the NBA. Their seventh-level defense was definitely moving, keeping the Bulls at 40.6 percent shooting, 6-for-26 from the back of the arc.
10. Gobert, as usual, was the center of that end. He blocked 9 career-high shots and scored 21 points and 10 rebounds when the Bulls fired 31-for-59 (52.5 percent) in the paint.
11. The Bulls move to 3-16 against teams at .500 or higher during the tournament. 16-7 against the others.
12. Clear spot: Joakim Noah was in the house. The Bulls played a humbling video, apparently to mark Noah ‘s retirement from basketball earlier this month, between the first and second quarter breaks. Noah sat down with Michael Reinsdorf in his half-court box and watched it as memorable moments from the Bulls’ career burning to the tune of “The Finish Line” at Chance The Rapper.
And yes, the scene was like an eerie tad with no fans in the building.
Next up for the Bulls: Home for the Cleveland Cavaliers Wednesday, one night before the March 25 trade deadline.
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