Notebook: Bulls 93, Jazz 89

Posted Feb 9, 2013 2:37 AM

Andrew Aragon, for

THE FACTS: Carlos Boozer was the last person the majority of the EnergySolutions Arena crowd wanted to see beat the Utah Jazz.

Guess what? He beat them anyway.

Boozer, the former polarizing Jazzman, had 19 points and five rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 93-89 victory over Utah on Friday night. Boozer, whose play was mostly silenced while boos rained down on him during the first three quarters, came alive with the game on the line. He scored 11 straight points in the fourth quarter for Chicago, which wrapped up a six-game road trip on a positive note.

Al Jefferson had a game-high and season-high 32 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost to an Eastern Conference opponent at home for just the second time in the last season and a half. Paul Millsap added 21 points for Utah.

QUOTABLE: "I am just glad we got the win. That is the thing we needed, we needed to bounce back. We took a punch last night, but we got up tonight and we fought. That is what you have to do. You can't look backwards, you can't look ahead, you have to look at exactly what is in front of you. It's been a long trip. Now we get a chance to gather, get home and correct."

-- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau on his team bouncing back from a 128-96 loss to Denver on Thursday night.

THE STAT: Both teams shortened their rotations during the nationally televised contest, and Chicago got a bigger boost from its bench as it outscored Utah's 23-19. Taj Gibson (14 points) and Marco Belinelli (nine points) provided all of the scoring for the Bulls' bench. None of the Jazz's four reserves made much of an impact or scored in double figures, and Derrick Favors fouled out in the fourth quarter.

TURNING POINT: Boozer went on a personal 9-2 run to lift the Bulls past the Jazz. Trailing 83-79 and the Jazz holding onto the game's momentum, Boozer went to work. He made a layup and buried a jumper to tie the game. He then made a go-ahead free throw to put Chicago in the lead for good. Boozer missed his second free-throw attempt, but Luol Deng tracked it down. On the Bulls' next possession, Boozer drew a foul and sank two free throws. Millsap scored to make it 86-85, but Boozer drew another foul and made two more foul shots to keep Chicago in control with an 88-85 lead.

HOT: Boozer was plagued by foul trouble in the game's first three quarters -- and that actually played to his advantage. He had fresh legs while playing most of the fourth quarter. In addition to scoring 11 of his points, he collected four of his five rebounds in the final period. From start to finish, Gibson was Chicago's best player. He came off the bench to shoot 7-for-9 and grab eight rebounds. Nate Robinson got the Bulls off to a fast start, scoring 13 of his 18 points in the first half. He has scored in double figures in 13 straight games. Jefferson, the subject of trade rumors that intensified during the week, was the game's star for the first three and a half quarters. He made eight straight shots during one stretch.

NOT: The Bulls blew a 13-point first-half lead because they left their shooting touch in the locker room after halftime. They missed 11 of their first 12 shots, shot 5-for-23 overall and scored 11 points in the third quarter. Randy Foye's strength is his shooting, especially from 3-point range. But he was off against the Bulls, going 2-for-6 in 3-pointers and 4-for-11 overall. He also missed a technical free throw with 4:11 remaining that would have extended Utah's lead to three points. Marvin Williams continues to be in a funk. He shot 1-for-6, and missed key jumpers with the game tied at 83-83, as well as with the Jazz trailing 86-83.

QUOTABLE II: "It's weird for me to come back here because most of the people that were here when I was here aren't here anymore. The only one who's here is (Millsap). I had a good time in Salt Lake. Salt Lake was good to me when I was here."

-- Boozer

GOOD MOVE: Thibodeau has the reputation of being a defensive mastermind for good reason. Jefferson was torching the Bulls until the final five minutes when Thibodeau adjusted. He reinserted Joakim Noah into the lineup and put him on Jefferson. He also gave Noah help, and ran players at Jefferson when he got the ball where what had been his sweet spot -- near the free-throw line. Jefferson was forced to give the ball up, and didn't score in the game's final five minutes. Thibodeau forced someone else to beat his team, and no other Jazz player could on this night.

BAD MOVE: Millsap had an overall solid game, but made a couple of questionable decisions down the stretch. With the Jazz trailing 90-87, he attempted an ill-advised fadeaway from 3-point range with 17 seconds remaining. The shot was too rushed, and Utah probably could have worked to find a higher percentage attempt in the situation. Also, Millsap's defense on Boozer was subpar in the fourth quarter, which was unexpected considering the two had faced off in numerous practices through the years.

NOTABLE: Former Utah coach Jerry Sloan was in attendance. After the game, he had Jazz personnel inform Boozer that he'd like to say hi to him. Boozer then greeted Sloan outside of his locker room and the two talked briefly. Boozer didn't like that media members took notice of the meeting and as he walked back into his locker room said, "Can't do anything in privacy around here. You (expletives) are everywhere." ... Chicago is 7-2 in its last nine games against Utah. ... Deng (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Noah (12 points, 11 rebounds) each had double-doubles

UP NEXT: For the Bulls, Monday vs. San Antonio, Wednesday @ Boston, Feb. 19 @ Charlotte. For the Jazz, Saturday @ Sacramento, Tuesday vs. Oklahoma City, Wednesday @ Minnesota.