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Bulls played hard this time, but 'gave one away' against the Jazz

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Have to give Hoiberg and the Bulls credit in some respects, after another deflating loss last night: at least they didn't blame the effort/toughness/energy whatever.

For one thing, the Jazz are not that bad, despite having no point guard (and Alec Burks out). When their bigs are playing they're quite formidable, especially defensively:

And they're historically an much better home than road team. There aren't many places in the NBA with a true home-court-advantage, but typically Utah is one of them.

Pau Gasol agrees:

At least we brought effort and competitiveness. When you do that, I'm OK with losing an overtime game in Utah. I'm not so OK with losing six or seven or eight games at home against teams that have worse records than we do.

And Hoiberg used the phrase "gave that one away" and "casual with the ball" when describing the game, correctly not going to the 'toughness' well so soon after that Clippers loss. As did Rose, who said they "competed" but lacked "discipline".

Whether it was some wacky shotmaking from Butler (and to a lesser extent Rose, considering his 3pt%) or not, the Bulls had this win earned (or stolen?). But as you can remember from the recap, the final few possessions of regulation and OT were a disaster.

You can re-live it starting at the 5:28 mark of this video after 'the bow'. There's the failure to secure an offensive rebound, then yet another example showing an inability to successfully get the ball in-bounds after a time out.

When it got to overtime, the Bulls weren't lackadaisical, they were more just tired. It was the second night of a back-to-back, and and this loss especially hurts given the exertion required. Butler got knocked in the chops and banged knees in this game, playing nearly 47 minutes including the final 18 minutes of the game. He missed 2 deep threes and 3 of 4 free-throws. Meanwhile, Hayward received a 2:45 stint of game-time rest in that time.

Not to say it's the wrong decision to play Butler so much last night (as a season-long thing it's worrisome, to be sure) as if he wasn't in there maybe the Bulls never get that late lead in the first place. But if you commit that much, you better win.