CHICAGO (ABC4 Sports) – Despite another big game from Lauri Markkanen, and a career night from rookie Ochai Agbaji, Zach LaVine an DeMar DeRozna were tough tough to overcome for the Utah Jazz.
Lavine made three consecutive 3-pointers during a key fourth-quarter stretch and scored 36 points, DeRozan had 35 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz 126-118 on Saturday night.
Utah has now lost six of its last seven to fall to 20-22 on the season.
“The learning moment for our team is guys can make two or three hard shots in a row, and you still got to maintain your discipline to the game plan to play to the level of intensity you need on defense,” Utah coach Will Hardy said. “You can’t let three tough shots deflate you, and I felt that’s what happened in those moments. Our energy level went down.”
Markkanen, who played his first four NBA seasons with Chicago, led the Jazz with 28 points, one game after setting a career high with 49 against Houston.
Agbaji, who only recently earned a spot in the rotation, finished with 19 points, making all seven of his field goal attempts, including going 4-for-4 from three-point range.
Trailing 99-92, the Bulls went on an 11-2 run — led by two 3-pointers by Patrick Williams and a layup by 6-foot guard Coby White over the 7-foot Markkanen with 7:32 left.
The Bulls’ rally stunted much of the momentum Utah built during a 40-point third quarter that featured Markkanen dunking over Vucevic.
Markkanen’s breakout season sparked speculation as to why he couldn’t blossom quicker during his four seasons with the Bulls.
“Everyone has their own growth period,” said Bulls coach Billy Donovan, who coached Markkanen during his last season in Chicago (2020-21) before he was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team trade. Donovan citied Markkanen leaving Arizona after his freshman year and eventually blossoming through his experiences and skill set. “I always a big fan of Lauri in my short period of time being with him,” Donovan said.
The Jazz next play at Memphis Sunday night before returning home to take on Donovan Mitchell and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.