Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
Bulls hold off Jazz
Rose and Gasol return to lineup as Chicago moves to 9-5 on the season
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
By Sam Smith | 11.24.2014 | 10:23 p.m. CT
UTAH - The Bulls lost a 21-point first half lead, fell behind late in the game and got crucial late baskets from Derrick Rose and Mike Dunleavy trailing a fast break to escape with a 97-95 victory Monday over the Utah Jazz. The Bulls in going to 9-5 got 25 points from Jimmy Butler, 23 points from Pau Gasol and 18 from Derrick Rose in 25 minutes in Rose’s return from a hamstring injury. The Bulls are in Denver to play the Nuggets Tuesday.
The Bulls with their regular starting group together for just the third game this season (two previous wins) came out like an old high school reunion with buddies glad to see one another again. Rose back from missing four games with a hamstring injury showed no ill effects with a big start, scoring 10 of the Bulls first 16 points with a pair of threes for a 16-4 start. Butler was all over the Jazz defensively, stripping dribblers in their first two possessions and the Bulls rolled to a 30-14 lead after one quarter as Butler added nine and Gasol after missing three games with a sore calf getting eight points. The Bulls kept piling it on to start the second quarter with Nikola Mirotic’s second three pointer and then threes from Aaron Brooks and Tony Snell for a 43-22 lead. The Jazz found some rhythm with a 10-0 spurt. But Butler had another steal and score for 16 points in the half and Rose added a three to give him 13 in the half. The Bulls led 56-41 at halftime on 58.8 percent shooting and eight of 12 threes. But it was a lethargic Bulls group to start the second half that seemed to play like the game was won. But it wasn’t as the young Jazz began making shots and pushing the ball for a big 36-point quarter to pull within 78-77 after three with Gasol’s post play barely keeping the Bulls in the lead.
1. Jimmy Butler dominated big time Jazz restricted free agent signee Gordon Hayward as Butler’s strength and speed enables him to get to the basket almost at will. He made most of the big plays for the Bulls as they routinely went to him out of timeouts.
2. The Bulls actually need Rose. His quick start gave the team life after dull performances in Sacramento and Portland and his three-point shot continues to improve as he made three of five in the first half. But Rose played cautiously after halftime in not driving much until a vital three point play late when the Bulls were trailing by two.
3. Rebounding remains a problem as the Jazz got back into the game thanks to second shots with 11 offensive rebounds to seven for the Bulls and 41-35 overall. Joakim Noah had to leave late in the game after being hit in the eye.