Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls
Bulls fall to Jazz at home
Bulls drop to 25-11 on the season
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By Sam Smith | 1.07.2015 | 9:17 p.m. CT
The Bulls Wednesday in surely their poorest game of the season lost to the Utah Jazz 97-77.
The Bulls fell behind to start in a lethargic first quarter. But this time they failed to make any serious run except for brief one and two-point leads in the second quarter. The Jazz then dominated the second half in belying the NBA adage that teams always make a run. Not this night.
The Bulls set season lows in scoring and shooting, the latter with 33.3 percent. The previous low points was 82 against Brooklyn Dec. 31. It was the second Bulls loss in the last 12 games.
The Bulls fell to 25-11 and 11-7 at home. The Jazz is 13-23. Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 16 points and Taj Gibson had 15. Derrick Favors had 20 for Utah.
It was a cold start for the Bulls—for both teams, really—to match the freezing weather outside. Perhaps a tribute from both teams? In any case, it was a brutal close-your-eyes first half in which the Jazz led 36-32 while the Bulls shot 28 percent. The Jazz in taking a 22-16 first quarter lead collapsed into the paint and doubled the big men inside, especially Pau Gasol, challenging the Bulls to make jump shots. The Bulls played to that strategy by walking the ball up with limited ball movement. Still, the Bulls took a 30-28 late in the second quarter before the Jazz closed with scores in their last four possessions as led by Rudy Gobert’s rebounding Utah outrebounded the Bulls in the half. The Bulls made a bit of a run in the third quarter on a pair of Rose driving baskets after the Jazz had taken a 12-point lead. But Utah came right back behind Gordon Hayward slashing to the basket and went into the fourth quarter leading 63-51.
1. Perhaps the biggest game of the year worldwide was France’s upset of Spain in Madrid in World Cup of Basketball. France’s Rudy Gobert bothered the Gasols with his size and did so again Wednesday against one Gasol.
2. The Bulls faced the defense they’ll often see with teams packing in the paint trying to force jump shooting. Bulls failed to push ball or run into pick and rolls to get defense moving.
3. No one among the Bulls regulars could get much going except for Taj Gibson, who led the team with offensive rebounds and shot six of 10.