SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Even with the prospect of six straight home games ahead of them, the Utah Jazz can’t seem to find the winning formula again.
DeMar DeRozan had 26 points and six assists to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 114-107 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday night at Vivint Arena.
Zach LaVine added 20 points, six rebounds, and five assists for the Bulls. Nikola Vucevic finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Chicago imposed its will around the basket and on defense as the game progressed. The Bulls outscored Utah 64-44 in the paint, and they tallied 23 points off 14 Jazz turnovers.
“I thought for a good portion of the game, we played the game the way we wanted to play,” said Jazz head coach Will Hardy, whose team led 60-53 at the half. “In the third quarter, we played flat on both ends, and that’s where the game was decided. I think everybody wants to win. I think at times when the game gets tough and things aren’t going your way, you can go into your default mode. Sometimes that’s when we play a little too much isolation and the ball doesn’t move around as much.”
Lauri Markkanen scored 32 points for the Jazz. Kelly Olynyk added 23 points, all in the second half, while Collin Sexton chipped in 17, starting for the injured Mike Conley.
The Jazz are 0-5 since Conley injured his knee November 9th.
DeRozan scored 12 points and assisted on three baskets in the third quarter. He bookended a 10-0 run with a pair of free throws, giving the Bulls a 78-73 lead.
Chicago finished 22 of 25 from the free throw line.
Chicago scored three straight baskets off steals to ignite an 8-0 run and extend its lead to 94-82 early in the fourth quarter. Andre Drummond capped the run with back-to-back baskets.
“That’s what we were stressing the whole game – getting stops,” DeRozan said. “They started out hot in the first half. We knew in the second half we’d just have to buckle down and help each other, be there for each other on defense.”
Markkanen gave Utah an early spark on offense. He made nine of his first 10 shots and hit five 3-pointers before halftime.
Markkanen made back-to-back baskets that ignited a 10-0 and put the Jazz ahead 40-31 lead early in the second quarter. Utah eventually extended its lead to 49-38 behind another pair of baskets from the Finnish forward.
“Right now, he’s in a good spot,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “Our group, our team fits how he plays and it’s great to see his confidence growing. And he’s playing great.”
The Jazz closed within 102-99 on back-to-back baskets from Malik Beasley and Olynyk but drew no closer. The Bulls held Utah to two field goals over the final five minutes.
Markkanen’s 24 first-half points were a career high for points in a half. Utah went 6 of 15 from the free throw line.
The Jazz next host the Clippers on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.