Make no mistake. This was the Bulls’ worst 48-minute performance of the season.
The Utah Jazz left Chicago with a win Wednesday night after the Bulls proved it was possible to lose a game in a more wretched fashion than their 20-point blowout loss to Brooklyn to end 2014.
The Bulls set season lows in both points scored and shooting percentage.
The loss moves the Bulls to 25-11, 2.5 games back from the pace-setting Hawks and drops them back into a tie with the Toronto Raptors.
Rudy Gobert has quietly had a strong season in Utah and again – quietly – he compiled an impressive box score, finishing with 11 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in 34 minutes.
No single player was the main factor for the Jazz’s rather dominant win. A flat Bulls start – nothing ever changes – allowed the Jazz to slow the game down throughout the first half and a spurt to end the third quarter and start the fourth killed any infant comeback thoughts the Bulls may have entertained.
The Bulls’ backcourt combined for SHOOTING from the field. Derrick Rose was once again awful, shooting 3-15 in 30 minutes. With Rose shooting 28-110 over his last six games, the shooting slump is becoming seriously problematic.
Rose’s defender was able to help off when the ball found it’s way into the post, giving Pau Gasol and Taj Gibson a hard time finding space to operate.
Nikola Mirotic and Gasol combined for 6-20 from the field and 15 points and the Bulls shot just 33.3 percent for the ballgame, a slight improvement on the first half’s nauseating 28 percent clip.
There was very little to take solace in from Chicago’s hideous night. Perhaps one: Benny the Bull did sink his back-to-the-basket halfcourt shot during the fourth quarter. Maybe he’s available for a 10-day contract?
Every player who saw minutes outside of garbage time finished with a negative plus-minus other than Tony Snell, who hit two of his three shot attempts and grabbed three rebounds in twelve minutes.
Joakim Noah has been playing with all the finesse of a statue for the majority of the season and, with the All-Star break not far away, the question of sitting him for a week either before or after the showcase becomes increasingly hard to ignore.
The Bulls are in the midst of a hectic schedule, having played home games against Boston and Houston on Saturday and Monday.
Now, the team must face the rising Wizards on the road Friday as part of five games in seven nights.
That stretch is followed by a Saturday-Monday double date with the Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who should have LeBron James back healthy in time. The Spurs and Mavericks are on tab after that to round off a particularly brutal part of the schedule.