Utah Jazz (1-14) vs Chicago Bulls (6-6)
Tip Off @ 7:00 pm MST
TV : Root Sports
Projected Starting Lineups
PG – Trey Burke
SG – Gordon Hayward
SF – Richard Jefferson
PF – Marvin Williams
C – Derrick Favors
PG – Kirk Hinrich
SG – Luol Deng
SF – Mike Dunleavy
PF – Carlos Boozer
C – Joakim Noah
The Jazz are starting to get guys back from injury, and once they look like they might be getting closer to a full roster, another player goes down with an injury. Sunday night in Oklahoma City, Enes Kanter came down and rolled his ankle, sending him to the locker room, barely being able to walk through the tunnel. X-Rays on Kanter’s ankle on Sunday night came back negative, but he is being re-evaluated today in Salt Lake City to see exactly how bad it is. I don’t expect Kanter to play tonight. Possibly not even for a week.
The Bulls are dealing with their own injuries as well. The injury they’re dealing with has got to be the worst thing that could have happened to the Bulls this season. Derrick Rose underwent surgery today to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, sidelining him for the remainder of the season. Rose missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
Both teams are coming into tonight’s game after getting blown out on Sunday. The Jazz were in Oklahoma City and got beat by 22, 95-73. The Jazz struggled to shoot the ball all night, going 39% from the field and 22% from 3. No starter for the Jazz scored more than 8 points in the game.
The Bulls were in Los Angeles getting beat up by the Clippers. They ended up losing that game 121-82. The Bulls did not shoot the ball well, but poor defense is really what did them in. The Clippers seemed to get easy baskets all game, and the end result was the Clippers shooting 58.5% from the field. Both the Jazz and the Bulls will be looking to try and bounce back from an embarrassing loss on Sunday.
Key Matchup : Gordon Hayward vs Luol Deng
Gordon Hayward has been struggling as of late. To say he is struggling might be an understatement. In Hayward’s last 3 games he has went 8-38 from the floor and 2-13 from 3. In the loss to the Thunder last night, Hayward looked visibly frustrated and his performance showed that. Hayward only played 25 minutes because the Jazz were getting blown away, but in those minutes he only had 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist. However, the biggest stat for Hayward was the worst one. Hayward finished the game with 6 turnovers.
Luol Deng is going to be asked to do more now that Rose is out of the lineup. The Jazz should know that Deng doesn’t have a problem doing EVERYTHING it takes to help get his team the win. In the game earlier in the year between these two teams, Deng nearly got himself a triple-double. Deng finished the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, and 5 steals. He also shot 78% from the field. In a game where Rose seemed to struggle, it’s safe to say that Deng single handily helped win the game for the Bulls.
If the Bulls want to win, it is going to start with defense, but on the offensive end it has to be what Deng brings to the game. They will get their scoring out of Carlos Boozer, but Deng being able to be an all-around player, as he was against the Jazz earlier, will determine what Chicago can do. As for the Jazz, if they want to turn this season around and show signs of improvement, Hayward has to step up and be a leader. Hayward started the season playing outstanding and really looked to be ready to take over this team. The last week, Hayward looks like he doesn’t even want the ball in his hands. For the Jazz to succeed, the ball HAS to be in Hayward’s hands. We will see tonight if Hayward can break out of his slump against a good match up in Deng.
The Bulls, like the Jazz, don’t have a real deep bench. Their bench took more of a hit once Rose went down and Hinrich was moved to the starting lineup. The main threat for the Bulls off the bench is Taj Gibson. Gibson plays hard on every possession and against the Jazz earlier in the season, played above his season averages. As mentioned, the Bulls bench is thin, but they are effective.
The Jazz are going to miss having Kanter on the floor. Whether he was starting or coming off the bench, him not being on the court will hurt the Jazz. However, the Jazz do have another big man that can come off the bench and make an impact on the defensive end. Rudy Gobert came in last night for Kanter after he rolled his ankle. It was garbage time, but Gobert played 10 minutes and ended the game with 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks. His length can effect a game. He just needs to see the floor. Having Jeremy Evans back and playing well is good for the Jazz’s bench. Evans has started out the season shooting 12-13 from the floor. This might be the first time in a long time that it looks like the Jazz bench has an advantage.
As mentioned, both teams are coming into tonight’s game looking to bounce back from embarrassing losses on Sunday. The Bulls are looking to try and move forward without Derrick Rose. The Jazz are looking for someone to step up in place of the injured Enes Kanter. The Jazz bench needs to step up tonight, as well as Hayward. I think that being at home will help the Jazz out tonight, and the Bulls losing Rose will hurt them a lot. The Jazz have 3 games this week. All of which are winnable. They get it done tonight.
Jazz 98, Bulls 91