Feb 8, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter (0) is defended by Chicago Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer (5) during the first half at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz @ Chicago Bulls : Preview

 

Utah Jazz (0-5) @ Chicago Bulls (1-3)

Tip Off @ 8:00 p.m. EST

TV : Root Sports

Tickets : Jazz @ Bulls tickets

Projected Starting Lineup

Utah Jazz

PG – Jamaal Tinsley

SG -Gordon Hayward

SF – Richard Jefferson

PF – Derrick Favors

C – Enes Kanter

Chicago Bulls

PG – Derrick Rose

SG – Jimmy Butler

SF – Luol Deng

PF – Carlos Boozer

C – Joakim Noah

Overview

The Utah Jazz enter tonight’s game as the only team in the NBA without a win this season. If the Jazz are looking to try and get their first one tonight, it’s going to need better play from one important position. The Chicago Bulls come into tonight’s matchup with a huge advantage at that one important position, point guard. Derrick Rose has returned from an ACL injury, but hasn’t quite returned to form. However, with the way the Jazz point guards are playing right now, this looks to be a game Rose could get back on track.

The Bulls as a team come into tonight looking to avoid a third straight loss. Something that has hurt Chicago, like the Jazz, is turnovers. The Bulls are averaging 18.5 turnovers per game, while the Jazz are averaging 20.2. Chicago has won their last 5 games against the Jazz.

Key Matchup – Enes Kanter vs Joakim Noah

This could be a very good matchup for Kanter. Both players are good on the boards. Kanter, however, scores the ball much better than Noah. This will be a good test for Kanter because Noah is a very good defensive player. Let’s look at some stats that compare these two players.

Enes Kanter

18.6 ppg

9.8 rpg

1.2 apg

0.0 spg

0.4 bpg

54% FG%

Joakim Noah

5.5 ppg

10.8 rpg

3.5 apg

1.5 spg

1.2 bpg

29% FG%

Noah is absolutely terrible offensively, but Kanter has looked completely lost defensively this season. Both players are good on the boards, but here is one more stat that could help give Kanter an advantage in the rebounding category tonight. On contested rebounds, Kanter is coming away with the rebound 61% of the time, while Noah is only coming away with the rebound 33% of the time. If Kanter and Noah battle for a rebound, odds are that Kanter should come up with it. This matchup will be very interesting to watch.

Bench

The Jazz’s game on Wednesday night against Boston was a horrible showing for the bench. Once Kanter and Hayward went to the bench, so did the scoring. The Jazz only came away with 8 points in the second quarter. If the Jazz want to have any shot of staying in games, the bench play must get better. Brandon Rush should be playing tonight, but again, in limited minutes. He might see 10-12 minutes of action, but he is still trying to shake off the rust. Once he shakes off that rust, and Marvin Williams and Trey Burke return from injury, the Jazz’s bench could improve tremendously.

The Bulls bench play could be what gives them the biggest advantage. The bench has shooters at the guard spots and on the wing. They also have physical guys in the post with Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammad. The key for the Jazz could be if they can defend the 3. Kirk Hinrich, Mike Dunleavy, and Tony Snell all shoot the ball very well. Up to this point in the season, they haven’t been hitting those shots, but they are all very capable. If they start knocking down outside shots, the starters could have to come back into the game quickly.

Conclusion

The Jazz have gotten their season started off exactly how the national media suspected they would. The same can’t be said about the Bulls and Derrick Rose. Rose is averaging only 15 points per game, about 6 points lower than his career average. The Bulls, collectively as a team are struggling, particularly behind the arc. The Bulls are shooting the ball from 3 point land at an ugly 25.4%. As a result of that poor shooting, the Bulls rank 27th in the league in points per game with 90.3. On the opposite end of the court, the Bulls rank 14th overall, giving up 98 points per game.

The Jazz are eerily similar statistically. The Jazz are even uglier behind the 3 point arc, shooting 22.5%. Like the Bulls, the Jazz poor shooting has put them as the 29th ranked team in the league in points at 90 per game. Only a 0.3 points per game difference. On the opposite end of the court, the Jazz fall a few spots behind the Bulls at 17th, giving up 98.6 points. Only a 0.6 points per game difference. So, if the Jazz can keep it close, this game could be a toss up. However, if the game comes down to free throws, statistically, the bulls win that matchup. The Bulls shoot as a team 85.2% from the free throw line. The Jazz shoot as a team 69.7% from the free throw line.

I’m looking for the Jazz to come out with a little more effort tonight. After an absolutely horrid performance against a terrible Boston team, a day off and a i’m assuming a severe butt chewing, they should show a little bit of fight. At first glance, I assumed the Jazz would see another blowout loss, but after I did my research, the Jazz might have more of a chance than any of us thought. Still, I think the advantage at point guard and free throw shooting will give the Bulls a slight advantage.

Bulls 97 Jazz 92

Which team will come out with the victory tonight?

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