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Utah Jazz look for next win in Chicago

Staying undefeated in Chicago is the goal

Utah Jazz v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Utah Jazz are the only undefeated team left in the NBA and will look to stay that way tonight against the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls are coming off bad news for Patrick Williams who will miss the rest of the season because of a dislocated wrist needing surgery.

It’s an unfortunate loss for the Bulls who will miss Williams' athleticism on the floor.

Despite not having Williams, the Bulls are still proving to be a formidable team. The combination of Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball have looked like a very good defensive unit and this could be one of the first real tests for the Jazz this season.

The Jazz’s schedule has been pretty soft so far this year with wins against the lowly Thunder and Rockets as well as a win against the Nuggets with no Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic leaving before halftime. Their win against the Sacramento Kings is looking better as the Kings have rung off some nice wins of their own, but it would be nice to see the Jazz tested by a team at full strength. They’ll get a little taste of that with the Bulls who are the #2 team in the Eastern Conference standings. The Bulls also surprisingly have the #5 defensive rating this season. That’s a great test for the Jazz who need to show that their #1 offensive rating is for real.

The Jazz have been steamrolling their bad opponents this season, picking up where they left off last season. They’ve also had something happen that hasn’t happened for years. Their offseason picks and acquisitions haven’t blown up in their face. Hassan Whiteside has been a very pleasant surprise. His rim protection has been great this year. For the season so far, Whiteside is #3 in individual defensive rating and it passes the eye test. In the Jazz system, which emphasizes rim protection, Whiteside has flourished. This season, when the Jazz can play drop coverage in the pick and roll, expect a Jazz win. That’s why a game like tonight is interesting. With a pick and pop center in Nikola Vucevic, how do the Jazz play? Are they able to keep up the defensive intensity if their centers are out of the paint? That’s the biggest question of the season for the Jazz who have an obvious achilles heel.

The other surprisingly good acquisition for the Jazz this season has been Eric Paschall. I’ll be honest, I had zero expectations of Paschall and looked at him more as bringing on a friend of Donovan Mitchell. I was wrong. Paschall has been playing fantastic defense and looks like he’s learned a few things from his time with Draymond Green. Paschall has been consistently denying penetration and has played physical defense. Along with Whiteside, he’s brought an edge and physicality this Jazz team desperately needed. Quin Snyder has some tough decisions coming when Rudy Gay returns because Paschall has been playing at a starter level. How does he get them both on the floor? For the season Paschall has the #9 defensive rating in the league. You have to figure out a way to keep that type of play on the floor. It may mean some experimentation with lineups. Could we see a defensive lineup focused on switching of Mitchell, O’Neale, Paschall, Gay, Gobert? I would love to see it. Until Rudy Gay come back from recovering from surgery, we’ll have to see.

Game Info

When: 6:00 PM MT - Oct 30, 2021

Where: United Center, Chicago, IL