The Chicago Bulls picked up just their 2nd win in their last nine games as they beat the Utah Jazz 95-86 Saturday night. It was another win for the Bulls against a team over .500 which for some reason they seem to play well against.
The Jazz jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead and it looked as it might be a long night for the Bulls as their offense managed just 16 points in the 1st quarter. The Jazz had a 12 point lead at one point in the quarter, but the Bulls where able to cut into the lead. The Bulls got the lead down to six points, but Joe Ingles split a pair of free throws at the end of the quarter to give Utah a 23-16 lead.
The Bulls started the quarter with a eight to five run to cut the Jazz lead to four points at 28-24. Utah was able to push the lead back to seven, but this time the Bulls came back and got to within two points at 33-31 with 4:56 left in the quarter. The Jazz got the lead back to eight points, but by the end of the quarter the Bulls had it down to four 44-40 going into halftime.
Chicago was finally able to take a lead in the game at 49-48 when Rajon Rondo scored with 8:40 left in the quarter. The Bulls built their lead to five points at 55-50, but Utah scored 9 of the next 11 points in the game to take a 59-57 lead. The teams where tied one more time in the quarter, but Utah was able to take the lead back and went into the 4th quarter with a 64-61 lead.
Utah built a five point lead and they where able to hold the lead until Denzel Valentine hit a 3-pointer with 7:20 left in the game to give the Bulls a 75-73 lead. It was a lead the Bulls would never lose. The Bulls had a six point lead 85-79 with 3:58 left to play, but the Jazz cut the lead right back to two points at 85-83 with 2:57 left to play. That was as close as the Jazz would get as the Bulls finished the game on a 10 to 3 run to take a nine point victory 95-86.
Jimmy Butler was the Bulls and the games leading scorer with 23 points. Butler also handed out a game high 7 assists. Bobby Portis came off the Bulls bench to score 22 points while Robin Lopez added 14 points. Denzel Valentine posted a double-double coming off the bench scoring 11 points and grabbing a team high 12 rebounds.
Utah was led by George Hill with 18 points. Gordon Hayward had 14 points while Rudy Gobert scored 13 points and grabbed a game high 13 rebounds. Joe Ingles and Alec Burks (off the bench) each scored 10 points while Ingles handed out a team high 5 assists.
Chicago improved to 33-37 with the win and find themselves just 1 1/2 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference. Utah dropped to 43-27 with the loss, but are still holding onto the 4th seed in the Western conference. This was the second of back to back games for the Bulls; so they’ll get a couple of days off before they head out on the road to face the 40-29 Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night. The Jazz have now dropped two games in a row and they’ll wrap up their four game road trip on Monday night when they face the 35-33 Indiana Pacers.