Hapless Jazz No Match For Bulls In Chicago

Nov 6, 2023, 9:31 PM | Updated: 9:36 pm

Jordan Clarkson #00, Lauri Markkanen #23 and Talen Horton-Tucker #5 of the Utah Jazz react against ...

Jordan Clarkson #00, Lauri Markkanen #23 and Talen Horton-Tucker #5 of the Utah Jazz react against the Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz turned in another difficult road performance in their 130-113 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Lauri Markkanen and Walker Keseler combined for 44 points and 20 rebounds.

Zach LaVine scored 24 points as eight Bulls finished in double-figures.

Are The Jazz The Worst Road Team In The NBA?

It’s early in the season, but the Jazz might be the worst road team in the NBA.

Here’s a look at the losses so far:

@ Phoenix Suns 126-104

@ Denver Nuggets 110-102

@ Minnesota Timberwolves 123-95

@ Chicago Bulls 130-113

Through four games the Jazz are winless away from home and have been outscored by a staggering 75 points.

The Jazz didn’t have a negative 75-point margin away from home until December 17 last year, their 16th road game of the season.

After Monday’s slate of games, seven teams in the NBA had yet to win a game on the road, including the Jazz. Here’s a look at how they’ve fared.

The Los Angeles Clippers (0-3), Los Angeles Lakers (0-4), Houston Rockets (0-2), Miami Heat (0-3), Minnesota Timberwolves (0-2), and Washington Wizards (0-4) were also winless, but have been far more competitive away from home.

The Clippers have been outscored by 21, the Lakers have been outscored by 37, the Rockets have been outscored by 34, the Heat have been outscored by 32, the Timberwolves have been outscored by 17, while the Wizards have been outscored by 57 in four contests.

Even among those winless teams, the Jazz entered Monday with the second-worst road net rating in the NBA, trailing only the Milwaukee Bucks who were -20.8 after just one away contest. After the Bucks won in Brooklyn, the Jazz dropped to 30th — last pace in the league.

The team’s first three road losses were understandable with Phoenix, Denver, and Minnesota all vying for homecourt advantage in the Western Conference, but Monday’s loss in Chicago was more concerning.

Entering the night, the Bulls had the league’s second-worst net rating at -8.8, and were one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the NBA, averaging 9.4 makes per game.

Against the Jazz. the Bulls had a +17.2 net rating while down 18 threes, six more than their previous game-high.

The pathway to the playoffs for the Jazz traditionally has been to win a healthy dose of their home games, while winning close to 50 percent of their games on the road.

Though that goal is still achievable, the hole they’ve dug themselves early in the season is beginning to look more and more difficult to climb out of.

With road games against Indiana and Memphis on the horizon, the Jazz will have to right this ship quickly or could see their season slip away before it even truly began.

Jazz Kessler Finds Some Success Against Bulls

It wasn’t all bad for the Jazz who saw Walker Kessler snap out of his latest funk.

The Auburn product scored 15 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, and blocked four shots while playing a season-high 31 minutes.

Rather than making Kessler the first sub of the game, Jazz coach Will Hardy pulled John Collins in favor of Kelly Olynyk at the eight-minute mark, allowing the second-year center to find a better rhythm in the first quarter.

Kessler was far from flawless as he shot just 5-12 from the floor, inflating some of his rebounding stats by pulling down 11 offensive boards, including some of his own misses at the rim.

However, he did knock down 4-6 from the free-throw line and looked to be playing with more confidence overall.

Hardy continued to tinker with his rotations early in the season, and keeping Kessler on the floor for a longer stretch to open the game looked like a smart adjustment.

The Jazz need Kessler to continue to play at this level if they want their defense to improve, and Monday night was a good start.

Night Awards:

The ‘This Is Getting Concerning’ Award:

Goes to Jordan Clarkson who had yet another terrible night in Chicago. Clarkson shot 3-14 from the floor including 1-8 from three while committing five turnovers in 29 minutes.

Clarkson’s long history of success has earned him more leeway than others when it comes to these types of slumps, but this is by far the worst he’s ever played in a Jazz uniform.

The ‘One Step Forward, Two Steps Back’ Award: 

Goes to Talen Horton-Tucker who limited his field goal attempts to just five against Chicago, a positive development after his 6-20 outing in Minnesota.

However, the guard also committed five turnovers, four of which came in the first half before he recorded his first assist.

Hardy pulled both Clarkson and Horton-Tucker off the floor early in the third quarter after their turnover struggles continued into the second half.

I’ll be watching closely to see if those two start Wednesday’s games in Indiana, or if Hardy has seen enough.

The ‘Jack The Ripper’ Moment: 

Goes to Keyonte George who had arguably the ugliest sequence of the night getting his pocket-picked by slow-footed center Andre Drummond above the three-point line, only to see Drummond miss the layup, which George failed to corral, leading to a corner three from the Bulls.

George has now been ripped off the dribble three times in his last two games including twice in Chicago and once by Mike Conley in Minnesota.

Some rookie mistakes are forgivable, but right now, George simply needs to take better care of the ball.

Utah Jazz Next Broadcast

The Jazz will face the Pacers on Wednesday at 5 pm MST in Indiana. The game will be televised on KJZZ, streamed on Jazz+, and can be heard on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone.

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

Ben Anderson is the Utah Jazz insider for KSL Sports and the co-host of Jake and Ben from 10-12p with Jake Scott on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone. Find Ben on Twitter at @BensHoops or on Instagram @BensHoops.

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Hapless Jazz No Match For Bulls In Chicago