There's really not much jazz in Salt Lake City except for the basketball team. But a visit from the Bulls Wednesday was music to the ears of the Jazz as Utah pulled away from a weary Bulls team in the second quarter and dominated in a 110-80 victory.
It was an offensive setback for the Bulls after they'd averaged 107 points the last three games. The Bulls were led by Robin Lopez with 15 points. Bobby Portis off the bench had 14 points and eight rebounds. Kris Dunn had 12 points and nine rebounds and Justin Holiday had 12 points. Rookie Lauri Markkanen has hit a bit of a wall. He was one of nine and zero for four on threes. He's not five of 26 shooting the last two games and two of 13 on threes. The Bulls were five of 21 on threes overall.
The Bulls fell to 3-13. The Jazz is 8-11.
The Bulls head for California to close the four-game trip against the Golden State Warriors Friday. The Warriors lost Wednesday to Oklahoma City.
It was a late arrival in Salt Lake City for the Bulls after losing in Los Angeles Tuesday. It also was the Bulls taking some getting used to with their road white uniforms, a change for this season with a new supplier. The Bulls started competitively. With slumping Holiday making back to back threes in the first quarter, the Bulls battled the Jazz evenly and trailed 25-24 after one quarter. Valentine, though he wasn't shooting, was making plays with three assists and three rebounds and Portis closed the quarter with a buzzer beating 16 footer and then gave the Bulls a lead with a score to start the second quarter. Jerian Grant coming off the bench with the second unit then provided is own run with eight straight Bulls points with the Bulls moving into a tie at 38 midway through the second quarter. But Utah making four of nine threes in the second quarter got a boost off their bench from Rodney Hood to close the half with an 8-2 run and a 55-46 halftime lead. Portis had 10 for the Bulls in the first half while Derrick Favors had 14 points to lead the Jazz. The Bulls slumped back to just three of 15 on threes in the first half. Paul Zipser also moved back into the rotation with a second quarter sequence.
The lack of strong legs on the second of a back to back in high Salt Lake City altitude seemed evident midway through the third quarter with the Jazz leading 67-55. Dunn made a steal and came up short on a layup try. Markkanen got the rebound, but he was unable to get up quickly and was blocked. That failure to score enabled the Jazz to start a 6-0 run with a pair of Bulls turnovers and an air ball jumper as Utah danced ahead 73-55 with five minutes left in the third quarter. The Jazz went on to make seven threes in the third quarter, penetrating and making the extra pass that enabled Jazz players to repeatedly be open for the shots. Utah led 87-69 entering the fourth quarter.