The Bulls wrapped up their road trip out West against the Jazz with a game that felt a bit like the Suns loss on Wednesday. They were competitive for a decent chunk of it before falling down big in the second half, only to make a surge to make things close down the stretch. But, once again, the Bulls couldn’t get over the hump in a 113-106 loss to give them six straight losses and a 19-28 record.
Zach LaVine and Coby White were back for the Bulls in this one. The road team battled hard throughout the first half and even led by five points midway through the second quarter. The Jazz then finished the first half on a 20-6 run to make it 58-49 at halftime, and they blew it open in the third quarter after the Bulls tied the game early in the frame. It was a 15-point game heading into the final quarter.
Utah’s biggest lead was 17 early in the fourth quarter before Thaddeus Young put the Bulls on his back. Young scored 11 of his team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter to get Chicago back in the game, and the margin got to five with just under three minutes to play. The Bulls used a weird three-big lineup with Young, Daniel Theis, Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine and Coby White that somehow got them back in the game, though, again, it was largely Thad doing the work.
Unfortunately, the Bulls weren’t able to make things much more interesting the rest of the way. Nikola Vucevic missed a key 3-pointer down six points with just under a minute to play, and while he hit one moments later, it was too late as Donovan Mitchell then hit two free throws and LaVine missed a triple to seal the deal. White and Markkanen finished the game on the bench, with Valentine playing the point guard role down the stretch after an absolutely brutal Coby gaffe (an awful shot attempt) with just under four minutes to play. While Valentine had a respectable game with 12 points, four rebounds and four assists, that’s a big yikes that he was closing over those guys.
Young had a legitimately outstanding game with his 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists. The Bulls were even a plus-11 in his 33 minutes on the court. They also scored 68 points in the paint to just 40 for the Jazz, which is a crazy differential given the Rudy Gobert factor.
While Thad was great, nobody else stood out. LaVine had a mediocre 22 points on 10-of-22 shooting and 2-of-8 from 3 in his return to the lineup. Vucevic had just 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting and 1-of-4 from long range, with that lone triple coming in the final minute. The Bulls shot just 7-of-28 from 3-point land as their struggles from deep continue.
Chicago didn’t win a single game on the four-game road trip, and things won’t be much easier on Sunday against the mighty Nets. I’m still pretty confident the Bulls are going to start turning things around at some point soon here, but this has been a rough stretch.