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Bulls vs. Jazz preview and game thread: Chicago wraps up road trip against best team in NBA

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another tough one to close out the trip

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NBA: Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a rough stretch of games since the trade deadline for the Chicago Bulls to say the least. They have yet to get their first win since acquiring five new players last Thursday. Since then it has been three straight losses on the road, making it five straight defeats since the Bulls’ win against Detroit on March 21.

Despite not having Zach LaVine, Chicago put up a good fight against the Phoenix Suns in the most recent game. Nikola Vucevic put up a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Thaddeus Young pitched in with 19 points and 10 boards of his own. The Bulls were within striking distance of Phoenix late in the fourth quarter despite trailing for most of the game, but they couldn’t make the timely shots when needed and lost 121-116.

However, in terms of the standings, the situation hasn’t changed for Chicago. Toronto is still two games behind them in 11th place and Indiana remains two games ahead in ninth. The gap between them and the non-play-in spots sees the New York Knicks four games ahead of the Bulls. Don’t count out the Washington Wizards, who are 2.5 games behind Chicago in 12th place.

The final game of this road trip will be another tough test as the Bulls play one of the best teams in the NBA in the Utah Jazz. They are currently 36-11, good enough for the best record in not only the West but the entire league. The Jazz are coming into this one on a roll as they have won seven straight games. Despite not having Donovan Mitchell in their last game, Utah got 26 points from Mike Conley Jr., 24 from Jordan Clarkson and 23 from Bojan Bogdanović in a 111-107 win over the Grizzlies.

Chicago hosted Utah last week ... and it wasn’t pretty. The Jazz led by 14 at halftime and blew the game open in the third quarter. They had five players in double figures, led by the 30 points of Mitchell and 21 from Rudy Gobert in a 120-95 victory at the United Center. Now they will be playing at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City where the Jazz are 20-2. Utah is one of two teams in the NBA (other being Brooklyn) who have that many victories at home.

Injury Report: Zach LaVine, who missed Wednesday’s game with a right ankle sprain, is questionable once again. Coby White is also questionable with a neck injury. Garrett Temple has already been ruled out due to a right hamstring strain he suffered against the Warriors on Monday.

Meanwhile for Utah, they have listed Udoka Azubuike and Juwan Morgann out with a right ankle sprain and a left calf injury, respectively. Joe Ingles is probable despite showing up on the report with left lower leg soreness.

Game Time: 8 p.m. CT

Odds: The Bulls are big underdogs as the Jazz are a 12-and-a-half-point favorite heading into this game. You can also find odds for a 13-point spread as well. In terms of the over/under, you can find totals of 222.5 and 223.5 despite on where you look (all info via the Action Network).