– Tonight’s game against the Chicago Bulls will be a homecoming of sorts for a few members of the Utah Jazz. Deron Williams played for Illinois in college, Jerry Sloan is a former Bulls head coach, Tyrone Corbin played at Depaul, Wesley Matthews played at Marquette, and Othyus Jeffers grew up right near the United Center (Salt Lake Tribune). In fact, Jeffers has such a connection to the Chicago area that he has invited 150 family members and friends to the game tonight. Deron Williams seemed to be impressed by the number as he said that he couldn’t even get 150 in Dallas (his hometown). I guess the Big O just left a big impression on the Windy City… or had a very large family!
– If you have followed the general NBA news, you are aware that Joakim Noah has been out due to plantar fasciitis. Without their starting center, the Bulls have struggled, especially on defense, where they have gone from very good to mediocre. In their last 7 games, the Bulls have given up at least 100 points (SLC Dunk). This is great news for a Utah Jazz team that has found much success on the offensive side of the ball lately. In their last 7 games, the lowest the Jazz have scored is 99 points, and the most they have scored is 133 points (a season-high).
– Speaking of offensive success, Utah’s leading scorer over the last 2 games is none other than Mehmet Okur. In the last 2 games, which were both wins, Okur averaged 25.5 points per game, as he found the stroke that once made him so tough for defenses to handle. If Okur can continue his little offensive tear against the Bulls, it could be a long night for the fans in the United Center. And without Joakim Noah to patrol the middle, it will give Memo plenty of opportunities to try and have a repeat of THIS PERFORMANCE.
– I think that the matchup between Derek Rose and Deron Williams will be very interesting. In Thursday night’s comeback win against the Suns, I was very concerned by Steve Nash‘s ability to get by Deron Williams with relative ease. Derek Rose is a lot younger than Nash, and he has one of the quickest first steps in the league. How Williams guards him tonight will be key in the outcome of this game. Even though the Bulls are shorthanded, and they are amidst of a 4-game losing streak, anything can happen. And if Derek Rose can cause havoc on the offensive side of the ball, don’t be shocked if the Bulls make this game very tough for the Jazz. But it all starts with Williams’ defense on Rose. If he shuts him down, the Jazz will cruise to a victory. Mark it down.
– With a win tonight, the Utah Jazz will clinch a winning percentage of at least .500 for the season. By doing this, the Jazz will have done it 26 times in their last 27 seasons. This is truly an amazing number, given the element of change that has gone on in the NBA in the last 27 seasons. It is always great to know that there is one constant that exists in a game that has seen so much shake-up.
– I came across a nice piece by Upper Bowl Jazz Fan, in regards to the Jazz’ backup point guard situation. CHECK IT OUT HERE.
– I haven’t officially mentioned it yet on the site, but Kosta Koufos has been sent down to the D-League. Why haven’t I mentioned it? Because Jerry does not play him. Because he doesn’t play at all, I really couldn’t care less about the move. Do I think he should play? Maybe. But I don’t really think this move affects the team one way or the other. We’ve all seen what the big guy could do earlier in his career, and it was less than spectacular. Enjoy your time with the Flash, KOOF. At least you will get some PT there.