Jazz-Bulls Preview

Utah Jazz Status Check:
Record: 32-29
Division: 5-4
Conference: 18-19
Road Record: 10-21
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Lost 2
Last game: 104-101 loss to Cleveland
PPG: 98.7 (11th)
Opponents PPG: 98.8 (17th)
Offensive Rating: 106.7 (9th)
Defensive Rating: 106.8 (22nd)
Pace: 91.4 (19th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .488 (17th)
Turnover Percentage: .139 (15th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .725 (24th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .297 (6th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .226 (6th)
Opp. eFG%: .500 (19th)
Opp. TO%: .138 (16th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .217 (25th)
Leading scorer: Al Jefferson (17.7)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Utah Injury Report:
Raja Bell: out (personal)
Al Jefferson: questionable (sprained ankle)

Behind all the Derrick Rose being cleared news, is the fact that until he comes back, the Bulls have to keep playing without him, and that continues tonight against Utah.

Carlos Boozer led the Bulls past the Jazz when they played in Utah in February. On the second night of a back-to-back, Boozer scored eleven straight points in the fourth to help the Bulls win 93-89 and hand Utah their sixth home loss of the season.

Boozer tallied 19 points and Nate Robinson scored 18 as a starter. Noah had 12 points and eleven boards, while Taj Gibson came off the bench to score 14.

The Bulls are 5-12 when Nate starts this season and are 1-5 in his last six starts. In his five most recent starts, he hasn’t scored more than seven points. And over the last ten games, Nate is shooting 30.6 percent and averaging just 9.0 points in those games. This is why Marquis Teague played 24 minutes against the Spurs, even though he wasn’t great. Nate Robinson needs to come out of his scoring funk, otherwise the Bulls might as well play down a man. A Nate that isn’t scoring is an invisible Nate.

On the other side of the ball, Al Jefferson tore up the Bulls, dropping 32 points and snagging 13 boards. Paul Millsap added 21 points, and Randy Foye pitched in 14. Those were the only three guys for the Jazz that had more than six points.

In a nice change of pace, the Bulls could be the beneficiary of an injury tonight, with Jefferson. He has missed the past three games with a sprained ankle. Even if Jefferson misses tonight with a sprained ankle, the Jazz have their fair share of talented bigs. Derrick Favors has started the past three games in place of Jefferson, averaging 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per contest. He went 2-6 against the Cavaliers on Wednesday night, finishing with just six points. Favors also scored six earlier this season against the Bulls, on 3-8 from the field.

Utah is 10-21 on the road, compared to 22-8 at home, and in need of wins. They find themselves in eighth place in the Western Conference, just a game and a half up on the Lakers, who are playing their best basketball of the season. LA has won seven of their last ten, while the Jazz have dropped six of ten and five of their last six.

The Bulls aren’t really fighting for a playoff spot, because the ninth place team, Toronto, is currently ten and a half games back of the Bulls. Although they may have a playoff spot pretty well sured up, they are fighting for positioning. They are sixth currently, meaning they’d match up with the Pacers. Lots of things will presumably change, but getting into the fifth spot would be nice for the Bulls, so they can avoid the Knicks and Pacers in round one.

The Bulls will be without Taj Gibson, Kirk Hinrich and Rip Hamilton again tonight.

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