The Utah Jazz (42-26) will take on the Chicago Bulls (41-27) tonight in Salt Lake City with both teams looking to solidify hold on to their playoff positions after recent skids.
The Jazz had another tough loss to a winning team in the Milwaukee Bucks after giving up yet another 3rd quarter lead. The Jazz have shown the ability to score this season in droves, it’s why they still have the #1 offense in the league. It’s also why they’ve been able to build leads on seemingly everyone in the league, even late into games. But they have also shown that they struggle to hold those leads late in the game. Which is why they currently sit at 10th in the NBA in defensive rating. It’s the story of the Jazz season and it’s been the story of the Jazz the last 3 seasons with their giving up of leads in the playoffs. This year may be different but it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon, this year at least.
The Chicago Bulls are in somewhat of the same boat. They haven’t had many wins against high level teams this year, also. They’ve been hit with some hard injuries to key defensive players like Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, but they still don’t have a lot of signature wins to point to that tell you this team is a legitimate contender. They might be that, but they’ll need to string together some good wins to prove it. A win tonight would be a good start.
Even though it was a loss, the Jazz have to be happy with the breakout night for Mike Conley against the Bucks. Before that game, since January 1st, Conley had been shooting just 36% from the field. He can still shoot the three, and that still might be one of his only weapons left, but it was good to see Conley hit that patented floater and get the assists to Gobert once again. The Jazz will need a reinvigorated Conley if they want to do anything this year. They’ll have to hope that the last game against the Bucks was a new trend and not just an outlier.
Utah is favored by 7 in this one but it’s hard to bank too much on the Jazz lately. They played nicely against the Bucks but can they string together two good performances in a row? The Jazz also might be one of the most infuriating teams to bet on. They seem to underwhelm against bad opponents and then overperform in others when you expect them to not do as well. Some consistency would be nice from this team. With Danuel House out with injury, Utah doesn’t have arguably their best perimeter defender. It would be hard to put my money on the Jazz without that ability to defend on the floor. It also needs to be noted that DeMar DeRozan is a killer in the midrange in the 4th. Nope, that doesn’t sound good at all for the Jazz.
When: 7:00 PM MT
Where: Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
TV: AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain
Radio: 95.9/1280 The Zone, Utah Jazz App
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