The Utah Jazz haven’t won consecutive games since Feb. 24. That day marked the final win in Utah’s 20-2 run that spanned two months.
Tonight’s road contest against the Chicago Bulls is the third chance for the Jazz to establish a winning streak post-All Star break. Utah is 3-2 since the break which, if the two Los Angeles teams weren’t also reeling, would probably have been good enough to knock the Jazz out of first in the Western Conference standings.
The recent landscape of the NBA has been forgiving of Utah’s run of mediocrity, but it should be the time for the Jazz to getting back to form since it could increase their lead over the rest of the pack. Another 20-2 is highly unlikely, but anything close will keep Utah atop the west until playoff time and give the team ample room to rest and be ready for said playoffs.
There’s only one major injury on either side. Chicago’s backup combo guard, Garrett Temple, has missed the team’s last five games and isn’t likely to return tonight as there’s no set timetable for him to come back. This season Temple is averaging 8.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in just under 28 minutes per game.
When: 7:00 PM MDT
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
TV: AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM/1280 AM
What to watch for
How will the Jazz slow down Zach LaVine?
Bulls guard Zach LaVine is having a heck of a year. He’s currently the seventh-leading scorer in the NBA at 28.3 points per game and is doing so at an incredibly efficient rate. He and Kevin Durant are the only two players this year putting up at least 25 points while shooting above 52 percent overall and 42 percent from three.
The Jazz have been in a defensive funk of late. Tonight would be the perfect time to show that defense is still a strength of Quin Snyder’s crew. Donovan Mitchell can also make a statement by stepping up on defense (for once).
Donovan Mitchell’s efficiency as a scorer
Since the All-Star break, Mitchell’s been scoring at a higher rate than normal this year. His season average is just over 25 but since the break, he’s scoring 29.2 per game including a 42-point game against the Wizards.
One of the struggles, however for Mitchell has been keeping his shooting percentages up. It’s actually been a season-long issue for him as 2020-21 is his worst in terms of field goal percentage. In three of the last five games, Mitchell has shot under 40 percent from the field, but his 42-point outing was highly efficient at 53.3 percent for the night.
Utah’s offense, particularly late in close games, is often dependant on whether Mitchell can create and make the shots that superstars are able to make and create. If this game stays close, watch for whether Mitchell comes through in the clutch.
Who scores more points tonight?
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