The Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls are scheduled to meet at the United Center in Chicago on Monday night. The Bulls are back home after a 100-86 win over the Pistons at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit yesterday. It’s a short flight home where the Jazz will be waiting for the Bulls. The Bulls were on a brief two-game road trip where they played well in Denver and Detroit.
They forced overtime against a good Nuggets team on the road, though failed to pick up a win in a 131-127 final. Despite the loss, it was a good go of it for the Bulls in Colorado. They had an 8-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but folded and ran out of gas in the altitude. Instead of a letdown spot, the Bulls were in fine form against the Pistons last night.
It was a game where the Bulls didn’t have to rely exclusively on Zach LaVine. Too often this season for the Bulls it has been LaVine or nothing. On Sunday against the Pistons, the Bulls had a well-balanced attack, especially defensively where they’ve been showing nice signs of improvement recently from earlier in the season. The Bulls have been able to put up some better resistance as of late, though.
The Bulls have a lot of work left to do if they want to be a contender in the East. That said, it doesn’t take much to get into the Eastern Conference postseason. The Bulls own a record of 19-22 and sit only one game back of the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks for the No. 8 No. 7 seeds in the conference. With LaMelo Ball expected to miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury, that should give the rest of the .500 teams in the East a better chance of reaching the playoffs.
Utah is still leading the Western Conference with a record of 30-11 and a two-game advantage on the Phoenix Suns. With Lebron James dealing with a serious high-ankle injury, and the LA Clippers running hot and cold in 2020-21, the door is open for the Suns or Jazz to win the West. The Jazz have not been in top form since returning from the break, though.
They are 3-2 with wins over the Rockets, 114-99, Celtics, 117-109, and Raptors, 115-112. In their most recent win against the Raptors, they needed a lot of help from the refs to get that win. They had 41 free throw attempts compared to just 14 for the Raptors. Drawing contact and fouls is all part of the game of basketball, but that’s some kind of discrepancy. Despite that wide marin, the Jazz only won by a few points. Head below for our free Jazz vs. Bulls pick on March 22, 2021.
Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls NBA Betting Odds:
Jazz vs. Bulls Prediction:
The Jazz have largely looked frustrated since coming back from the break. If there was any team that likely didn’t want to see a layoff it was the Jazz. They were going through the Western Conference in impressive fashion. You aren’t going to find many pundits out there that had the Jazz leading at the All-Star break. Perhaps competing and a few games back, but not a multi-game lead.
In that sense, the Jazz must look at the positives and not their recent inconsistent play. The Jazz are third in the NBA with 116.7 points scored per game. Donovan Mitchell is one of the most underrated scorers in the league, but has to take on a big leadership role and get the Jazz back to pre-All-Star form at the moment. Mitchell has recorded 25.3 points and 5.4 assists per game going into Chicago.
The offense isn’t what has been most concerning for the Jazz following the break, though. Utah has racked up 117.4 points per game through their last five games. That trends above their overall number of 116.7 points a game. Having said that, their defense hasn’t been the best of form, with 116.4 points conceded in their last five outings.
And again, the Raptors were getting no calls against the Jazz. With only 14 free throw attempts, the Jazz may have conceded well over 120 points to a disjointed Raptors team if the refs didn’t swallow their whistles when Toronto had the ball.
Chicago has been showing some grit since returning to action. From paper thin defense to getting into shooters faces and making offenses work for points. The Bulls have allowed 113.8 points per game for 24th in the league overall. Although, in their last five outings, the Bulls have been active defensively with 104 points conceded per contest.
The Nuggets may have scored 131 points, but they needed overtime to do it. Through their last six games, the Bulls have given up 101 points in regulation per game. They might be on a back-to-back, but this looks like too many points against a Jazz side going through the motions at the moment.