The Chicago Bulls (32-37) are not good right now. They are two of eight in their last ten games, and have won only one game in their last eight. What used to be a fairly average .500 team is now the tenth seed in the Eastern Conference, two full games behind the streaking 8th seeded-Miami Heat. In their last game, they gave up a career high 20 assists to John Wall, 17 points to Jason Smith, and 16 points to Ian Mahinmi.
On the other hand, the Utah Jazz (43-26) are doing well enough. They’re (1-1) on their east coast road trip, coming off a win at Detroit followed by a close loss to the defending champs, the next night. Despite being down 14 at various points in the game, the Jazz managed to pull into a small lead early in the fourth quarter. If not for a certain Lebron James, the Jazz could have pulled off an upset on the Cavs’ home floor.
The last time the Jazz played the Bulls this season, they won (85-77) behind 20 points from Butler and 18 from Wade, and the Jazz missing George Hill and Derrick Favors Now, with Dwyane Wade out for the rest of the season, the Jazz need to overcome their current injuries and seize the moment.
- George Hill vs Rajon Rondo
- Joe Ingles vs Paul Zipser
- Gordon Hayward vs Jimmy Butler
- Joe Johnson vs Bobby Portis
- Rudy Gobert vs Robin Lopez
Marquee Matchup: Gordon Hayward vs Jimmy Butler
The Marquee Matchup of course has to be the two all-stars from each team pitted against each other. With major contributors missing from both sides (Dwyane Wade, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood), both teams will rely on their stars for offense and defense.
X-Factor: Travel Fatigue
The Jazz are in the midst of a three games in four nights set, but the Bulls are as well. Both teams have been traveling, with the Jazz on a road trip and the Bulls traveling between a close loss at home to the Grizzlies to another close loss in Washington DC last night to back home tonight. Expect to see a lot of short shots and slow pace.
Prediction: Jazz WIN
It’s do or die, playoff push time. While the Jazz are a solid three games ahead of the Clippers, resting on laurels is the worst thing to do heading down the home stretch. Handling the Bulls in Chicago is another solid win that the Jazz should put in their books.