UTAH JAZZ

Bulls Get Hot In Fourth As Jazz Lose Late Lead

Jan 7, 2023, 9:22 PM | Updated: 9:23 pm
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley shoots over Chicago Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan...
Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley shoots over Chicago Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Chicago Bulls used a hot shooting fourth quarter to beat the Utah Jazz 126-118.

Lauri Markkanen scored 28 to lead the Jazz while DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine combined for 71 to lead the Bulls.

With the loss, the Jazz fell to 20-22 on the season.

Bulls Get Hot Late

The Jazz took a 97-90 lead with 10 minutes left in the game before the Bulls caught fire in the fourth quarter.

The Bulls strung together a dominant 26-9 run over the next five and half minutes ending the Jazz’s hopes of leaving Chicago with a win.

DeRozan led the Bulls with 15 points in the final frame on 5-7 shooting while LaVine added 12, including a run of three consecutive threes on back-to-back-to-back possessions to extend the Bulls lead.

Despite playing their second game in 24 hours the Bulls scored 42 fourth quarter points to down the Jazz.

“I thought we put ourselves in a great position in the fourth quarter with about nine minutes left,” Will Hardy said, “and then you know they hit a bunch of threes.”

The Bulls connected on 6-7 from the three-point line and 15-19 points overall to keep the Jazz from winning their second-straight road game.

Agbaji Continues Strong Play

Ochai Agbaji proved his 11 point performance against the Houston Rockets on Thursday night was no fluke after he picked up where he left off in the second quarter against the Bulls.

Agbaji scored nine points on 3-3 shooting in the second quarter again taking advantage of open looks in the corners.

But while the rookie’s second quarter was impressive, it was his 10-point outing in the fourth quarter that showed a real glimpse into what his future might hold.

Agbaji took advantage of an over-aggressive closeout from the Bulls driving to the rim for a layup and a foul.

On the next possession, Agabji again hit an open three, before recording a dunk two possessions later off of a pass from Malik Beasley.

“He’s got the right approach every single day that a couple of misses doesn’t mean that you can’t shoot,” Hardy said. “There’s way more of your life that says you can shoot than not, and I’m happy that he’s having some success because I think he really feels and knows now that he belongs.”

While three-point shooting will be key for Agbaji’s game, the wing can’t rely on shooting 7-8 from the three-point as he has over the last two games to be effective.

Instead, it was how Agbaji reacted to the Bulls’ defense after they started trying to take away his three-point shooting that allowed him to continue to impact the game.

Like all rookies, Agbaji will continue to have ups and downs for the rest of the season, but until the last two games, he’d experienced mostly lows as a member of the Jazz.

A little confidence has gone a long way for the Kansas product, and his progression has suddenly become a noteworthy storyline for the second half of the season.

Jazz Face Well-Rested Memphis Team

While the Jazz had the rest advantage on Saturday after the Bulls had played in Philadephia on Friday, it will be the Memphis Grizzlies who should be the fresher team when they host the Jazz on Sunday.

After falling to Chicago the Jazz will take a quick trip to Memphis to face the Grizzlies on short rest.

The Jazz and Bulls game concluded shortly before 8:30 pm MT on Saturday and will have a short turnaround when they tip off against the Grizzlies at 4 pm MT on Sunday.

The Grizzlies meanwhile have not played since their 123-115 victory over the Orlando Magic on Thursday night.

Memphis sits at 25-13, a half-game behind the Denver Nuggets for the top spot in the West having won five straight and 13 of their last 17 outings.

The Grizzlies are the only undefeated team in the NBA over the last five games and own the best net rating in the league at 13.7.

Memphis owns the fifth-best offensive rating during the stretch and the second-best defensive rating.

Jazz Weekend Broadcast Schedule

The Utah Jazz and the Grizzlies will tip off in Memphis on Sunday at 4 pm MT. The game will be televised on AT&T SportsNet and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. It can also be streamed on DirecTV Stream and FuboTV.

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Bulls Get Hot In Fourth As Jazz Lose Late Lead