Bulls-Jazz Preview

Utah Jazz Status Check:
Record: 31-22
Division: 5-5
Conference: 16-16
Home Record: 17-10
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: 1 win
Last game: Won 107-104 at Sacramento
PPG: 99.9 (12th)
Opponents PPG: 99.8 (18th)
Offensive Rating: 109.1 (9th)
Defensive Rating: 108.9 (18th)
Pace: 90.9 (22nd)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .497 (13th)
Turnover Percentage: .129 (8th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .716 (26th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .264 (14th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .250 (3rd)
Opp. eFG%: .501 (16th)
Opp. TO%: .145 (6th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .284 (30th)
Leading scorer: Deron Williams (21.8)

Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.

Jazz Injury Report:
Francisco Elson: Left knee inflamation (questionable)
Paul Milsap: Bruised left big toe (probable)
Mehmet Okur: Strained lower back (out indefinitely)

Overview:
Monday night in Portland, the Bulls were exploited (read that: humiliated) on defense by a big man (LaMarcus Aldridge scored a career-high 42 points) and a point guard (Andre Miller dished 11 assists to go with the 27 points he scored on 7-for-11 shooting from the field and 13-for-13 from the line).

Tonight, the Bulls face a Jazz team with an All-Star point guard in Deron Williams and two productive big men in Paul Milsap (17.1 PPG with a PER of 19.9) and Al Jefferson (17.1 PPG with a PER of 18.7).

That’s worrisome. Just as worrisome is the fact that the Bulls have looked bad (especially on defense) in two consecutive road losses which dropped them to 11-12 outside of Chicago.

Honestly, I’m not sure what to expect from the Jazz. Check out their game log. Their season has had almost as many downs as ups. Sure, they’re nine games over .500, but their point differential is barely above the break-even point (+0.1) and Basketball-Reference has calculated their Expected Win-Loss record at 27-26.

Almost everything about Utah screams “average team.”

Still, looking at their stats and rankings, we know the Jazz are 1) a top ten offensive team and 2) bordering on being elite at forcing turnovers and drawing fouls. Note that the Bulls committed 17 turnovers in their loss at Golden State and gave up 40 free throw attempts in their defeat at Portland.

More bad news: The Bulls have lost 11 of their last 14 games in Utah.

This game will be interesting.

We get to see Derrick Rose go head-to-head with another elite point guard. After the way Andre Miller stole his lunch money on Monday, and the way Nicolas Batum trashed his defense, I expect Rose to come out unusually fired up.

We get to watch Carlos Boozer return to Utah. Salt City Hoops has a nice retrospective on Boozer’s time in Utah.

We get to see how much pride this team has. They’ve been punked in back-to-back games and their league-leading defense (according to Defensive Rating) has been humbled. How will they respond?

7 Responses to Bulls-Jazz Preview

  1. wsrizal@gmail.com'
    Wes R February 9, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Should be a pretty fun game tonight since 25% of our active roster is from last season’s Utah squad. Additionally, there’s the undercurrent of team’s measuring up their MVP candidate with Rose, the Booz or boos for Boozer, and the tearful reunion of teenage girls and Kyle Korver. Oh yeah, Ronnie Brewer will likely get some applause too.

    The one new thing that this team seems to do a lot better than previous versions, is that they tend to watch and learn from film study. For the Bulls to truly establish themselves as a title contender for this season, they’ll need to start winning consistently on the road. For that? They’ll need a consistent *effort* on defense, Noah or no Noah. Offense will come and go, but it will be the defense that will give the Bulls the best chance to win when things slow down in the playoffs against elite teams.

  2. Inception February 9, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    not having a good vibe about this one….first L3 of the season…?

    bring on the all-star break.

  3. scottie pimpin February 10, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    sap vs booz, sloan vs thibs, will vs rose…..
    time 2 ball baby. lets go get it….BULLS !

  4. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath February 10, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    Wow, big win. It is pretty amazing that they held this team off, by the way the game was going.

    AND, this provides good fodder for the DRose/DWill debate … you can’t ignore the head to head matchups!!!

  5. inkybreath@gmail.com'
    inkybreath February 10, 2011 at 4:30 am #

    **Also, I was watching the Jazz feed and they just couldn’t say enough about Rose. They gave him a lot of credit for his defense in this game.**

  6. scottie pimpin February 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    its a win, but not a very good one. williams made the bulls defense look good. another game that proves derrick rose deserves mvp consideration. and brewer shows flashes of why he should start, that fast break was nice.

    also, skip bayless talks allota dumb sh*t.

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