Like so many times this season, the Bulls had a chance late to steal a win against a quality opponent.
The Jazz were missing Mike Conley, but the rest of their key players were healthy and playing. The Jazz were rested and riding a winning streak. If the Bulls would have won this game, there would have been only extremely petty caveats to report.
But late-game execution eluded the Bulls again, as Chicago fell to the Utah Jazz 102-98 in a game that was a back-and-forth affair throughout.
Late in the game, the Bulls blitzed the Jazz ballhandlers on pick-and-rolls (as they have done all season) allowing Utah Center Rudy Gobert to slip through and collect easy buckets at the rim as the roll man:
Zach LaVine had 26 points in the game, but took a few bad shots late that proved costly and shot just 9-of-26 from the field overall.
Down two with just about 30 seconds left, LaVine challenged Rudy Gobert under the basket, trying to twist up an acrobatic layup that didn’t fall. It was early in the shot clock and didn’t involve much offense getting run to set it up. After LaVine’s miss, the Bulls had to foul with 19 seconds remaining.
Donovan Mitchell hit two from the free-throw line to put his team up four points. On the next possession, a tough stepback 3-pointer from LaVine clanked away. Wendell Carter Jr. tied up Rudy Gobert on the rebound. On the jump ball, Gobert knocked the ball out of bounds. The Bulls weren’t able to score on the extra possession.
To LaVine’s credit, he was a big reason the Bulls were sticking around late in the game. He sunk a long 3-point field goal with 1:43 left in the game to tie it up at 96 to cap off an 8-0 Bulls run.
As mentioned, this was a game of runs. Through the first 18 minutes of game time the Utah Jazz nailed seven of the 16 3-point field goals they attempted. The Bulls were only down seven, so props to them for withstanding the barrage of 3s to a degree. At this point, six of the Jazz’s seven 3-pointers were assisted.
After trailing for most of the second quarter, a Lauri Markkanen straightaway 3-pointer gave the Bulls the lead. Zach LaVine followed with a 3-pointer on the next possession as the Bulls used an 8-0 run to lead by four at halftime.
The Bulls then went on a 7-0 run to start the third quarter to make it a 15-0 run overall, but then the Jazz made quick work of getting back into the game. In fact, they sprinted out to a 24-4 run, building their advantage to nine points with a couple of minutes to play in the quarter. The Jazz shot 11-for-15 from the field in the third quarter and led by six points heading into the fourth, and they were able to hold on.
While the Bulls lost, there was a fun note on the telecast. Zach LaVine joined Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler as the only two Bulls to score at least 800 points in the first 35 contests of a season since 2001.
Wendell Carter Jr. had another solid game. He was aggressive early, shooting 4-for-5 from the field for nine points through the first 16 minutes of the game. He finished with a double-double of 18 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.
In the first quarter, Lauri Markkanen did this against Rudy Gobert, the two-time reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year:
More strange lineup decisions from Boylen
- With Dunn in foul trouble throughout the game, head coach Jim Boylen opted to play Shaquille Harrison instead of Ryan Arcidiacono. This could be because he needed Harrison, a really good defender, to guard Donovan Mitchell. But then again, Boylen has recruited Arcidiacono to man up Giannis Antetokounmpo down the stretch before and Arch did a good job there. Tonight was the first game of the season that Arcidiacono didn’t play in.
- Lauri Markkanen played 32 minutes (second lowest among Bulls starters) despite pouring in 18 points on 6-for-16 from the field.
- Chandler Hutchison is apparently healthy now but was still inactive for this game.
- Next up for the 13-22 Bulls is a home date against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night.