NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 8th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Bulls (29-20) at Utah Jazz (28-22), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls will try to put Thursday's lopsided loss behind them Friday when they complete a road trip in Utah against the Jazz.
The Bulls fell to the Denver Nuggets, 128-96, on Thursday. It was the worst loss for head coach Tom Thibodeau since he took over the Bulls and the Bulls' trademark defense is taking a beating.
In their last two games, Chicago has surrendered 239 points and allowed the Nuggets to shoot 58 percent from the field. Denver had 14 dunks and 15 layups and put the game away with a 21-6 spurt to start the third quarter.
"They came out and started the third quarter and just smoked us," said Thibodeau. "They got a big cushion and that was the game. Until we change, it's not going to be good. We are not containing the ball, not keeping it out of the paint, not getting shots, not rebounding the balls. It is very difficult to win with that."
Joakim Noah returned Thursday night after missing the last three games with plantar fasciitis. He only managed two points in just over 23 minutes.
Daequan Cook led the way for the Bulls with 19 points off the bench. Carlos Boozer netted 18 and Nate Robinson, Luol Deng and Marquis Teague all scored in double figures.
The Bulls have lost two in a row and three of their last four.
The Jazz have won two in a row and four of their last five. Both of their recent wins came at home and they will finish a short stand in EnergySolutions Arena on Friday night.
The Jazz are 19-5 at home this season and moved six games over .500. In a Wednesday victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Jazz blew away the Bucks in the second and third quarters, winning those frames by a margin of 58-37.
Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson paced the Jazz with 19 points apiece. Jefferson also pulled down 11 rebounds. Enes Kanter exploded with 17 points off the bench and Randy Foye and DeMarre Carroll also netted double figures, but Kanter was the talk of the team postgame.
"I thought he was great," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Kanter. "I thought he did a great job of giving us energy from the time he stepped on the floor."
The Jazz have done it on the defensive end over the last five games. They've held opponents to an average of 91.6 ppg.
The Bulls have won three in a row over the Jazz. Chicago is 14-9 on the road this season, which is the best mark in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have won two of their last three in Salt Lake City.
02/08 10:46:09 ET