CHICAGO — After getting manhandled by Minnesota on Friday, C.J. Miles said the Utah Jazz might lose by 60 points if they played similarly against the Chicago Bulls.
For a while Saturday, it looked like Miles might've given his team too much credit.
Utah scored just two points in the first six minutes, trailed by 20 after one quarter and fell behind by a whopping 30 before the break while playing as much defense as a Junior Jazz team.
The way they started — when it seemed like a 100-point defeat might be possible — the final margin of the Jazz's 118-100 setback to the Bulls makes the lopsided loss look like a competitive nail-biter.
It's no wonder, then, why Michael Jordan told the United Center crowd at halftime — when the 1991 championship squad was honored for the 20th anniversary of the franchise's first title — that this current Bulls' squad looked good enough to win multiple championships.
And this Jazz team?
Coming off a miserable 1-3 road trip in which it lost by a combined 61 points to the Knicks, T-Wolves and Bulls, Utah doesn't look good enough to win multiple contests.
"It's disappointing," Jazz guard Raja Bell said. "I think it's as bad as we've played this year. We've been down 30 in three of the last four games. It's pretty bad."
And the first half was much worse than that.
A night after allowing Minnesota to score 66 points in the first 24 minutes, the Bulls dropped 68 on the puzzled Utah defenders, while establishing a new season-high for offense by a Jazz opponent.
"We didn't come out with a sense of urgency," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We didn't come out with an intention of stopping them and making them play in half-court sets. They got out and they got everything they wanted."
That everything the Bulls wanted included five first-quarter 3-pointers by MVP candidate Derrick Rose, a franchise-record seven treys in that opening period and a season-high for points in the first quarter (37) and half (68).
En route to a franchise-record 18 3-pointers (on 32 attempts), the Bulls tied an NBA mark for most 3-pointers in a half with 10.
"The beginning of the game, we just lost it right away," said small forward Andrei Kirilenko, whose team trailed 30-10 late in the first quarter. "We got 30 points down and it's pretty tough to play that way."
If there was a silver lining to the loss, Utah outscored Chicago by 10 in the third and fought back within 13 points in the fourth quarter about the same time fans were chanting for bench player Brian Scalabrine to play.
Despite 33 points and 18 rebounds by Al Jefferson — and a 24-point effort from Devin Harris — the Jazz push came way too late to do anything but add lipstick to their pig of a performance.
"If we would've played the first half the way we played the second half, we would've been in a better situation," Jefferson said. "You've got to give credit to them for hitting shots, but 98 percent of it was our defense."
Utah effectively used a zone in the second half, allowing for the improved play. But Corbin said the Jazz struggled to defend Chicago's pick-and-roll in the first half, when Utah defenders failed to help each other and close out on Chicago's red-hot 3-point shooters.
Harris called the problem "a lack of being on the same page on the defensive end" — a weakness that Rose (26 points), Luol Deng (26 points, seven rebounds, six assists), ex-Jazzman Kyle Korver (17 points), and Joakim Noah and C.J. Watson (16 points) all pounced on.
"We've got to come out with more focus and more intensity," Harris said. "But it's more of lack of rotations and getting on the same page with guys on the defensive end."
Despite their rough road swing, the Jazz (34-33) return home for Monday's game against Philadelphia only two games out of a playoff spot.
They hope both Paul Millsap, who missed the past three games with a knee injury, and their winning ways and effort will return.
Added Jefferson: "We're going to keep fighting."
NOTES: The Bulls' 18 3-pointers set a Jazz opponent record, while Rose's five early threes tied Kobe Bryant's record for most long balls in a quarter by a foe. ... Chicago had 29 assists to just 16 for the Jazz. ... Aside from C.J. Miles' 13, Utah only got three points from the rest of the bench. Gordon Hayward went scoreless a night after registering a career-high 18 points.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company