The Bulls have followed up a five-game losing streak with a two-game winning streak, beating the similarly lowly Suns to end their West Coast trip and then eking out an overtime victory over the fading Wizards.
The competition will ramp up with the Jazz coming to town Saturday night, and the Bulls are still pretty banged up. Otto Porter Jr. will likely miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury, while Zach LaVine (thigh and knee) and Kris Dunn (back) are both questionable.
(UPDATE: Porter and LaVine are out, while Dunn will play. Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison have been ruled out for the season, and Porter may be trending in that direction.)
The Jazz are mostly healthy outside of Dante Exum’s latest injury. The Jazz are coming off a tough 117-114 loss to the Hawks (thanks, Atlanta!), but they had won five games in a row before that and are fighting for seeding in the tight Western Conference.
Utah is 42-30, which is good for the No. 7 seed in the West. However, the Jazz are just a half-game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and LA Clippers, and a half-game ahead of the San Antonio Spurs. It’s a battle.
The Jazz are led by Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, with Mitchell leading the team in scoring at 23.8 points per game and Gobert averaging a double-double while anchoring the defense. Old friend Kyle Korver is still a dangerous 3-point shooter, while Joe Ingles is one of the better 3-point shooters in the league.
While the Jazz are just a middle-of-the-pack offensive team, they boast the third-ranked defense, which means the Bulls could have some real trouble scoring, especially if they’re super shorthanded.
The Jazz won the earlier this meeting in Utah, 110-102.
Bulls-Jazz tips off from the United Center at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on WGN.