Bulls-Jazz Preview

Utah Jazz Status Check:
Record: 19-20
Division: 3-4
Conference: 11-16
Road Record: 5-14
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Lost 1
Last game: 104-91 loss to Philadelphia
PPG: 96.7 (12th)
Opponents PPG: 97.6 (22nd)
Offensive Rating: 105.4 (8th)
Defensive Rating: 106.4 (24th)
Pace: 91.1 (19th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .474 (20th)
Turnover Percentage: .131 (5th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .730 (19th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .300 (2nd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .227 (7th)
Opp. eFG%: .494 (22nd)
Opp. TO%: .141 (13th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .246 (27th)
Leading scorer: Al Jefferson (18.9)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Utah Injury Report:
None

Overview:
Chicago looks to get back on the winning track after faltering against Orlando, who ended the Bulls eight-game winning streak. After two disappointing showings from Chicago (against Orlando and Milwaukee), and a day of rest, the Bulls get an easier opponent in Utah.

It should be the Jazz with tired legs tonight, playing on the second night of a back-to-back. They lost last night in Philly, but actually spread out their minutes. The highest total for Utah was Al Jefferson, with just 32 minutes. Tom Thibodeau makes sure Luol Deng plays 32 minutes before the game even starts. Nobody else even played 30 minutes for Utah.

The Sixers shot 52.6 percent in the game and had eleven more assists than Utah. But Utah did have fewer turnovers than Philly, which is quite a feat. The Jazz had just eleven turnovers. This continues Utah’s impressive season of holding onto the ball. They rank fifth in turnover percentage (.131).

The Jazz did have 52 points in the paint against Philadelphia. The 76ers are third in the league in opponent points in the paint per game, allowing 37.3. Chicago gives up 38.9 points in the paint, putting them in tenth place in the league.

Scoring in the paint is nothing new for the Jazz, as they rank second in that offensive category, scoring 49.2 points per contest from that area.

With this, Utah’s bigs present some troubles for the Bulls. Joakim Noah will have to go up against Al Jefferson, the leading scorer on the Jazz. That leaves Carlos “Ole” Boozer to try and cover the power forward combination of Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors. That could get ugly. It might be a good thing that this is the only time the Bulls will face Utah. Perhaps Taj Gibson is in for some extra minutes tonight.

And to try and prove I’m not always bashing Boozington, he was one of the lone bright spots in Chicago’s loss to Orlando, going for 26 points, on 12-20 shooting, grabbing seven rebounds and adding four steals. Those steals show exactly why people say that stat doesn’t prove someone is good at defense (crap, I was supposed to be praising Boozer in this paragraph…oh well).

Utah is also as aggressive as Chicago on the offensive glass. The Jazz rank second in offensive rebounding percentage (.300), behind only the Bulls (.319). The Bulls average 13.4 offensive rebounds, while Utah grabs 12.7 per game.

Chicago’s injury bug: Deng may be joining C.J. Watson and Rip Hamilton on the sideline, as his wrist injury is still hurting.

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