The Utah Jazz franchise is going through a huge transition, going from a veteran-dominant roster to one built around a young core. That in itself is difficult enough, but Utah’s early road-heavy schedule full of tough opponents has not aided its cause. The Jazz were defeated by yet another potential contender as the Chicago Bulls ran away with a dominant 97-73 victory.
Utah was overpowered from the tip-off as Chicago darted out to a 16-7 lead just four minutes into the game. The Jazz were never able to cut into that deficit much in the second quarter and then were simply pummeled in the second half by an energetic and tenacious Bulls squad. Chicago is clearly a team vying for a championship, while Utah is simply vying for its first win of the season. The Bulls schooled their opponents in nearly every way. Here’s hoping Utah was taking notes.
The Jazz will finish up their four-game road trip Saturday versus the Toronto Raptors.
Stellar starters: Chicago has one of the NBA’s most formidable starting line-ups in Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler. With the exception of the up-and-coming Butler, its starters all have All-Star game appearances on their resumes. They showed their excellence in what turned out to be a relatively low-impact evening. The five combined to shoot 25 of 42 from the floor — 59.5 percent. They finished with a collective 68 points, and thanks to the blowout nature of the game, four of the five played 27 minutes or less.
Conversely, Utah’s starters had a forgettable evening and were thoroughly outplayed by their counterparts. The Jazz’s opening five hit just 16 of 51 shots — a paltry 31.4 percent.
Marvin’s back: A few games after Utah welcomed back Brandon Rush from injury, Marvin Williams made his return Friday night. Last year’s starting small forward was understandably rusty, but he managed to hit his first shot back, a three-pointer from the wing. He should add much-needed help to the Jazz rotation.
This and that:
• After committing 16 first-half turnovers, which helped Utah stay in striking distance, Chicago only had four miscues in the second half.
• Former Jazz power forward Boozer has been questionably Chicago’s best player so far this season. And he backed that up with an impressive game versus his old employer. He had 18 points and 10 rebounds in a mere 24 minutes.
• While Utah’s starters’ shooting was dismal, the reserves were even worse. They suffered through a 9-of-34 effort, which translates to 26.5 percent.
• Center Rudy Gobert had a productive game, notching 12 rebounds in just 16 minutes.
• Chicago’s Deng was one assist away from a triple double.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops and Utah Jazz 360. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.