Friday was the third game of the Jazz's current road trip. Friday was the third consecutive game that went down to the wire. And Friday was the third straight outing that saw the Utah Jazz lose in a devastating fashion. This time it was the Chicago Bulls that pulled it out, defeating Utah 89-88.
Once again, the Jazz played well enough to win. And once again, there were some definite gaffes that ultimately contributed to the game’s final outcome. Utah held an 88-86 lead after a clutch jump shot by Al Jefferson, only to give up a big offensive rebound that led to Bulls guard Marco Bellinelli drilling a game-winning 3-pointer in the corner.
Utah has lost three games this week by a total of five points. Since the All-Star break, Utah is just 2-6 (1-6 since the NBA trade deadline). As a result, what once was a solid playoff position has now become very, very tenuous.
Offensive Boards: The Jazz held the edge in rebounding for a good portion of the game. The Bulls decided they did not like that, so in the second half, they stepped it up. Offensive rebounds set up several second-chance opportunities, of which the Bulls took advantage. One need not look further than the final Chicago possession. Jimmy Butler managed to snatch a rebound that set up the big Bellinelli trey.
Chicago finished with 21 offensive rebounds. All-Star Joakim Noah led the way with eight.
Short-handed? No problem: For the first time in a few months, the Utah Jazz were at full strength. With Mo Williams and Al Jefferson back in action, Tyrone Corbin had his full cadre of players. Conversely, the Bulls continued to engage in their own injury battle.
Chicago has received some extremely welcome news: Former MVP Derrick Rose has been cleared to play, although he won’t see action for a little while longer. Friday night, three of the Bulls' main rotation guys, Kirk Hinrich, Rip Hamilton and Taj Gibson, were held out. All of this did not matter, though, as players like Nate Robinson, long-time big man Nazr Mohammed, Jimmy Butler, and, of course, Bellinelli came to play.
• Marvin Williams has struggled mightily of late, which has led to his new role off the bench. That is why Friday was such a welcome sight for the small forward. Williams produced perhaps his finest overall performance of the season, scoring 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting while also grabbing 10 rebounds.
• Former Utah All-Star Carlos Boozer had his second strong effort against his old team, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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