Jazz Open Homestand With Loss To Bulls
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz bad habits reared their ugly head once again in Monday’s 114-107 loss to the Chicago Bulls.
The Jazz failed to string together a full 48 minutes of basketball, were outrebounded in critical moments, and saw their backcourt struggle without Mike Conley.
With the loss, the Jazz have now dropped eight of their last 10 games, and five straight overall.
Jazz Guards Go Cold Against Bulls
It’s no secret the Jazz miss Conley. They’ve gone 0-5 now without him in the lineup after suffering a strained knee last Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers.
While Conley often gets credit for his veteran leadership and steady execution, his stellar shooting gets overlooked.
Conley is a career 44 percent shooter from the floor and 38 percent shooter from the three-point line.
Against the Bulls, Jordan Clarkson, Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Beasley, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker combined to shoot 9-38 (23 percent) from the floor including 5-27 (18 percent) from the three-point line.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 29, 2022
Only Collin Sexton, who connected on 7-11 field goal attempts and 1-2 from the three-point line shot better than 50 percent from the floor.
Conley isn’t the best shooter in the Jazz backcourt this season, that honor belongs to Beasley. But he’s better than Clarkson, Horton-Tucker, and Alexander-Walker behind the three-point line, and against the Bulls, his absence was noticeable.
Home Court Disadvantage
The Bulls represented the first home game of six straight at Vivint Arena, and eight of 10 overall. But if being home was supposed to fix the team’s recent ills, the results have yet to show up in the win column.
After opening the season 5-0 at home, the Jazz have lost three of their last four at home.
Those losses include three sub-.500 Eastern Conference teams in the Bulls, Detroit Pistons, and New York Knicks.
The lone win was impressive, downing the Phoenix Suns 134-133, but required a career-high 38 points from Lauri Markkanen.
Even Markkanen’s big performance against Chicago wasn’t enough to cure the Jazz’s troubles.
Here’s how the rest of the homestand looks, and the records for each team involved.
Wednesday: vs. LA Clippers (12-9)
Friday: vs. Indiana Pacers (11-8)
Saturday: vs. Portland Trail Blazers (11-9)
Wednesday: vs. Golden State Warriors (11-10)
Friday: vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (10-11)
The Jazz then head on the road to face the 13-7 Denver Nuggets, before returning home to face the 12-8 New Orleans Pelicans in back-to-back games.
Ultimately, the Jazz returning home won’t be enough to solve their problems. They’re going to have to start playing better each time they take the floor if they hope to right their wrongs.
Kessler Doesn’t Play Second Half Against Chicago
Walker Kessler played only five minutes against the Bulls and didn’t get off the bench in the second half.
Instead, third-year center Udoka Azubuike recorded a season-high nine minutes, scoring two points and grabbing five rebounds.
“Walker has done a lot of things very well,” Will Hardy said, “I thought in his first run that (Andre) Drummond’s physicality bothered him a little bit.”
Kessler finished with three rebounds and one block in five first half minutes, but the Jazz were outscored by three when he was on the floor.
“I thought that Dok would give us a good presence and I was actually really happy with how he played,” Hardy said. “He rebounded well, wet good screens, I was really happy for Dok.”
The Jazz were 10 points better than Chicago with Azubuike on the floor in the first half, but were outscored by five in three second half minutes.
It’s unlikely that Hardy will stick with Azubuike long-term, but is worth watching during the homestand.
Jazz Next Broadcast
The Utah Jazz and the LA Clippers will tip off at 7 pm MT in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. The game will also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.
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