Tonight the Utah Jazz are on TNT! I know! Actually on National TV! It will be a Jazz game against his own hometown Chicago Bulls. I'm as excited as you are. But probably not as excited as Quin Snyder who has tucked his shirt into his pants here.
Anyway, this is going to be a test for both teams. This is Game 2 of the Bulls Western road trip. They started it off with a 113-88 shellacking against the Portland Trail Blazers. Yeah, they blew out Portland in Portland. Chicago will play Utah, the Clippers, Lakers, Nuggets, and then 76ers on their trip. Six games in 11 nights. That's not that bad. That's actually easy. Utah usually benefits from playing a team in Utah on the second night of a back-to-back or on their first. That's not the case tonight. Chicago is rested and ready to go.
Historically Utah has the lead in the head-to-head with a 28-20 record in the #801. And the two teams split the season series last year. But Chicago has proven to be able to win in Utah, even if it's a Larry Hughes game winner. Blah. The good people over at numberFire think the Jazz have a 72.1% chance of winning tonight. We'll see.
Honestly? I just want to just kick Chicago in the teeth all night long. Hey, the Cubs won this year. Let us petty small market fans tortured by that flying shoe salesman have something!
Utah protects their defensive glass. Chicago attacks on their offensive glass. The winner of this battle is going to win this game. Book it.
I wonder how this map would be different if the team won one of those two rings they fought for . . . probably not that different at all.
Chicago Bulls Roster:
This is a Bulls team that has started their starters almost every game, it must be nice. They are relentless on the glass, regularly getting help from their perimeter players. So you have to be very careful and not go half-speed when they are going full speed. They get at it on defense as well. Wade and Butler are legit stars, and Rondo is one of the best "Robins" out there if your team has a "Batman." Gibson has given Utah trouble before, and Lopez can pick up a double double if you aren't paying attention.
Their bench has some 'names' but injuries are keeping them from reaching their highest level right now. Denzel Valentine, Nikola Mirotic, and Bobby Portis are legit players though. Valentine probably less so because he's a rookie, but he will get there. Also, watch out for Mr. Robot himself, R.J. Hunter.
Injuries: Rajon Rondo is doubtful tonight, Jerian Grant may get some more minutes if he does not play. Doug McDermott and Michael Carter-Williams are both out.
Utah Jazz Roster:
I just want ONE year where I don't talk about "what if" and instead talk about what is. Injuries are a problem. It is upsetting, but all teams have to deal with them. Utah is set up to be Gordon Hayward's team. He needs to do what stars do tonight. The bench has been feast or famine. In games where the Jazz prevail it's almost always because two or three guys from the bench step up. In the games where they struggle, the bench has been a wasteland.
Having to rely on guys like Shelvin Mack or Trey Lyles is iffy at best. But this team has Joe Johnson now. Don't let this be another Marvin Williams situation where his first game in uniform is the only game where he goes for 20+ points. Iso-Joe's abilities are needed tonight.
Injuries: George Hill, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks. Rodney Hood isn't 100% but he should be playing tonight.
We don't have all the deets, especially not with all the late news we will be getting. But anyway, here's what we know:
- PG: Dante Exum (?) vs. Rajon Rondo (?) -- Rondo could be replaced by J.Grant according to Bulls beat writers
- SG: Rodney Hood vs. Dwyane Wade
- SF: Gordon Hayward vs. Jimmy Butler
- PF: Boris Diaw (?) vs. Taj Gibson
- C: Rudy Gobert vs. Robin Lopez
GO JAZZ GO!
Who's going to win tonight?
This poll is closed
Jazz by 11+ points
Jazz by 6-10 points
Jazz by 1-5 points
Bulls by 1-5 points
Bulls by 6-10 points
Bulls by 11+ points