After straight four wins, the Chicago Bulls finally suffered a loss this season. They staged a furious late-game comeback against the New York Knicks on Thursday night but fell short, 104-103. To make matters worse, it was announced that Patrick Williams is out for the regular season with a wrist injury. It’s a tough loss for the Bulls as they lose a year of development for him and one of their better weak-side defenders. Chicago’s record is now 4-1, still good enough to be tied for first in the East. But now they find themselves dealing with a number of injuries and in the midst of a tough slate of games, with many of them coming against playoff teams from last season.
Their opponent Saturday will be the Utah Jazz. They come into this one as the last remaining undefeated team with a record of 4-0. In their last game, the Jazz took care of business against the Houston Rockets. They scored 30 or more points in three of the quarters en route to a 121-99 win. It was a balanced offensive night for Utah as seven players scored in double figures. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 19 points, while Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson each had 16. This is the first game of a back-to-back for the Jazz as they head to Milwaukee right after. They have matchups against the Kings, Hawks, and Heat looming in the distance.
The Bulls have seemed to ease preseason worries about their defense but face a challenge tonight. Utah is first in the league in offensive rating (114.1) while Chicago is fifth in defensive rating at 100. It’s going to be up to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso to guard Donovan Mitchell and Clarkson, who can get real hot off the bench. The Bulls also really need to worry about the presence of Rudy Gobert. Chicago got handled on the boards against the Knicks and now face a team that is fourth in total rebounds per game (50.8). Tony Bradley played six minutes on Thursday, so we’ll see if he plays more as Chicago begins to face teams with bigger centers. Don’t forget that the Jazz also employ Hassan Whiteside as another big body.
Other than Williams, the Bulls are still missing Coby White, who is recovering from shoulder surgery. Zach LaVine is also on the injury report with his thumb injury but listed as available.
Meanwhile, the Jazz are missing a couple of players, including one of their starters. Mike Conley is ruled out with a right knee injury. Rudy Gay is still out after having surgery in the offseason on his right heel. Miye Oni, Eric Paschall, and Whiteside are all listed as available.
Game Time: 7 p.m. CT
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Odds: The Jazz opened as 4.5-point favorites but the line has gone down to them being -3. You, however, can find places that offer Chicago (+3.5). As for the over/under, it’s set at 218.5 with some places offering a total of 218.