Jazz cap road trip with a resounding 114-83 win over the Bulls

Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (24) shoots the ball as Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) defends him during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

Chicago • You’ve probably seen the Running of the Bulls, the annual event in Pamplona, Spain, in which six bulls run through the streets on their way to a bullfighting arena, as various unwise humans run and jump out of the way to evade the thundering herd.

Saturday night’s Utah vs. Chicago game was like that, but with the roles reversed. This time, it was the Jazz who ran roughshod through the streets as the Bulls simply did their best to stay alive. The result was a massive Jazz 114-83 win.

Like the real Running of the Bulls, it was over within minutes. The Bulls called their first timeout under five minutes into the game, their second just three minutes later with the score already 22-10. Bulls coach Jim Boylen called his third with a 43-22 deficit to fight a few minutes later, and soon, it was 60-26.

“We were not scoring, and they were scoring,” Boylen said. "That’s a bad combination against a good team.”

The Jazz’s trampling was flashy, too. Ricky Rubio and Joe Ingles had their pass-fake games working, and Derrick Favors was solid inside, as is typical. But perhaps the highlight was a transition defense-to-offense play, where Rudy Gobert blocked a doomed Kris Dunn layup attempt, Jae Crowder got the loose ball and fed it behind his back to Ingles, who found Donovan Mitchell for a highlight-reel dunk.

“It was about keeping our foot on the throat,” Mitchell said. “We came in communicating and just said, ‘Look, we’ve got to go out there and start strong.”

JAZZ 114, BULLS 83

• The Jazz ran all over the Bulls on Saturday night, getting out to a 60-26 first-half lead before finishing with a 31-point victory.

• Donovan Mitchell scored efficiently, getting 16 points on just 8 shots in 26 blowout-shortened minutes.

• The Bulls made just two 3-point shots all game, tying the record low for this NBA season.

The second half wasn’t quite the runaway, but with a 30-point lead or more for most of the period, it’s hard to blame the Jazz. The Bulls did once go on a 12-4 run to close the lead to just 28, but Quin Snyder called timeout and the Jazz immediately put the pedal to the metal once more.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two teams came from the 3-point line. The Jazz shot 11 of 32 from deep, somewhere just shy of average for the team. But the Bulls’ 3-point attack was dismal: They made only two threes all night, going 2 of 16 for the game. It was the fewest threes made by an NBA team all season long, and in the modern NBA in 2019, it’s hard to score efficiently without any semblance of a deep threat. Coming off of a game in Atlanta where the home team made 19 threes, it was a relative relief for the Jazz.

“They try to get downhill, but I don’t know if any of their players are known as shooters other than the big fella [Lauri Markkanen],” Ingles said. Of course, when teams try to attack the Jazz inside, they have Gobert, Favors and even Ekpe Udoh — who had four blocks in his eight-minute stint — to swallow the opposing team whole.

The quick run made for a short night for the Jazz’s starters, as no one played more than 27 minutes. Mitchell scored 16 points in only eight shots, and Gobert scored 21 in 11 while adding 14 rebounds.

In the Bulls’ defense, they came into the contest with a massive injury report, a combination of an unlucky season and one where they’ve decided that losing is probably for the best at this point. Zach Lavine, Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison, Rahle Alkins, and Denzel Valentine all missed the game.

“I want to give Kris Dunn credit for playing,” Boylen said. “He had more kinesio tape on him than a damn mummy.”

The Jazz’s win moved them into a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference, with all of the Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, and LA Clippers boasting identical 43-30 records.


KEY MOMENT • The opening whistle saw the Jazz’s vaunted starting five line up against an injured Bulls team that was just frighteningly short of quality throughout.

BIG NUMBER: 2 • After allowing the Atlanta Hawks to make 19 threes on Thursday night, the Bulls went only 2-16 from deep Saturday.

WHAT’S NEXT • The Jazz return home to play the Phoenix Suns at 7 p.m. on Monday.