CHICAGO (ABC4 Sports) – The last of the unbeatens is unbeaten no more.
DeMar DeRozan scored a season-high 32 points, Zach LaVine added 26 and the Bulls handed the Utah Jazz their first loss of the season, 107-99 on Saturday night.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 30 points, but Utah shot just 38 percent from the field and committed 20 turnovers.
The Bulls grabbed a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter and hung on after the Jazz pulled within five in the closing minutes.
Mitchell hit two free throws to cut it to 100-95 with 1:39 remaining. But Nikola Vucevic came through with two huge baskets to help Chicago knock off the NBA’s lone remaining unbeaten team.
”Tonight, we were just reckless with the ball,” Mitchell said. ”I think just mental mistakes played into a lot of it. When we got into our stuff, it looked good and it looked fluid. But I think the biggest thing is just being able to play through the pressure – physical pressure, I mean.”
The two-time All-Star answered Mitchell’s free throws with a 3-pointer. And after Rudy Gobert scored on a reverse, Vucevic drove for a layup to make it 105-97 with just under a minute remaining.
DeRozan, whose previous high was 26 points, made 13 of 22 shots.
”We go out there and play extremely hard for one another,” DeRozan said. ”Definitely be hard on ourselves when things don’t go our way, especially defensively. No matter who we’re playing, we’re going to go out there and try to execute to the best of our abilities.”
The Jazz played without starting point guard Mike Conley, who was held out because the Jazz play again on Sunday.
LaVine, playing with a torn ligament in his left thumb, scored eight in the fourth quarter. Vucevic finished with 16 points – despite shooting 4 of 19 – and 12 rebounds, and the Bulls (5-1) bounced back from a one-point loss to New York two nights earlier.
”You’re trying to build out an identity of how you want to play,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. ”This was the most consistent game I thought we’ve played to an identity. I thought we ran consistently.”
The Bulls swarmed Utah, turning 20 turnovers into 25 points, with Jazz guard Mike Conley resting.
Mitchell scored 30, though he shot just 9 of 27 while committing six turnovers. Gobert added 17 points and 19 rebounds. But the Jazz lost after winning their first four games.
The Bulls bridged the third and fourth quarters with an 18-5 run to turn a four-point game into a 94-77 edge.
A three-point play by Utah’s Jordan Clarkson momentarily halted the momentum. But Mitchell got called for a technical after missing a layup. LaVine hit the free throw, then nailed a 3 and cut backdoor for an alley-oop dunk off a feed from Lonzo Ball that made it 94-77 with 6:50 left.
The Jazz will take on the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks Sunday night at 5:00 p.m.