CHICAGO The Jazz opened a four-game trip here hoping to cure their ills on the road.
Instead, they got beat Tuesday night falling 108-96 to Chicago at the United Center, a loss that ended their five-game winning streak with a dose of what typically is their own medicine.
"They do a good job defensively in the interior, and the refs aren't calling the calls, and we miss our jump shots," said All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer, who struggled with a 10-point, 5-for-14 shooting night.
"That's the same thing we try to do to other people," Boozer added after Utah fell to 42-23 overall and 14-20 on the road. "We try to take away their layups, and make them shoot jump shots to start the game."
The Jazz fell into just that trap, getting pushed more and more to the perimeter so much so that what was once an early 18-10 lead quickly evaporated into a 15-point deficit with five-plus minutes still to play in the second quarter.
"We took a lot of outside shots," said center Mehmet Okur, who led Utah in scoring despite missing four of six 3-point attempts.
"They did a good job of packing the lane," Boozer added. "I guess they did a good job of doing it without fouling, and made us take jump shots and we just didn't make (them)."
Utah which got a 22-point, 18-rebound double-double from Okur, and a 20-point, 10-assist double-double from point guard Deron Williams, but little else from the rest did get to within eight when Andrei Kirilenko knocked down a 3-pointer with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
But the trey from Kirilenko, who was playing for the first time after missing three games with a strained hip, marked the closest the Jazz would get the rest of the way.
The Bulls extended their advantage to 17 with five minutes left in the third, and when power forward Drew Gooden followed a layup with a free throw early in the fourth their lead was up to a game-high 19.
Gooden finished with a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double on the inside, plus solid defense on Boozer.
Bulls guard Ben Gordon balanced that from the outside with a 19-point off-the-bench effort that included four 3-pointers, including an especially devastating pair late in the third quarter.
The Northwest Division-leading Jazz never got back to within single digits in the final quarter, and Chicago which is fighting New Jersey and Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff position in the NBA's Eastern Conference improved to 26-38.
"We still had chances," said Williams, who also committed a game-high six turnovers.
"I just thought they played harder than us, and it looked like they wanted it a little more," he said. "It should be the other way around. ... So we just have to get a little tougher, a little mentally tougher."
Jazz coach Jerry Sloan could only hope afterward that his club, which continues its four-games-in-five-nights trip tonight at Milwaukee, does just that.
"They pretty much manhandled us right from the beginning of the game," said Sloan, whose Jazz allowed the Bulls 25 points off 17 miscues. "They knocked us around, and put us out on the perimeter, and all we could seem to do is turn the ball over."
Sloan was especially miffed by the way his club, winner of 18 straight at home, ran its offense.
"I always understand that sometimes when you start off on the road, sometimes we're a little bit hesitant," he said. "But (usually) they finally get into it, and start working, and start working together. But we never could play hard enough to put any pressure on them.
"They came down and executed their stuff, and made us play defense for a longer period of time, and they ended up getting good shots because of that, and they also got (15) offensive rebounds. And that's what an offense will do for you. But if you don't believe in one, you'll end up like us just taking shots.
"We have a tendency to do that a lot of times," Sloan added. "And we do it more on the road than we do at home, for whatever reason: We come out and start firing shots out on the perimeter."
With that, the Jazz trudged on toward tonight's game against the Bucks.
"The world hasn't ended yet," Sloan said. "We have to get ready to play again (tonight), and if you're professional that's what you get ready to do."Just sit around and pout, and feel sorry for yourself you didn't get enough shots or this and that then you won't be ready to play, and the other team will kick your rear end."
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