It’s always nice to be back home, but when you get back at 5 in the morning, east coast time, you’ve got to rebound quickly and physically. —Jazz coach Quin Snyder
SALT LAKE CITY — Quin Snyder has often said that the first home game after a long road trip is often like an extension of the road trip because it’s hard to adjust after being away for a long time.
That’s the challenge his team will be facing tonight when it takes on the Chicago Bulls at 7 p.m. at Vivint Arena after a week-long road trip to the East Coast.
Even though the Bulls are one of the NBA’s worst teams in the league at 3-12 (third worst record), Snyder and his team, which are 7-11, won’t be looking past them.
“It’s always nice to be back home, but when you get back at 5 in the morning, east coast time, you’ve got to rebound quickly and physically,” he said. “The first game back is always a bit of a challenging game and we’ve talked about it. We’re playing a team on a back-to-back and they’re a young team ready to play. They were in position to win last night and we’ve got to be ready to go.”
The Bulls, who lost to the Lakers Tuesday night after leading by 19 points, are led by Lauri Markkanen, a rookie out of Arizona, who local fans saw last year in the NCAA Tournament at Vivint Arena. The 7-foot, 230-pound forward from Finland leads his team at 15.4 ppg and 8.4 rpg.
“He’s very skilled and especially for his age, he’s very polished with his offensive game,” Snyder said. “They go to him with good reason, he’s able to make plays and make shots.”
Thabo Sefolosha, one of Utah’s defensive specialists, knows he’s going to have his hands full, guarding Markkanen, when he plays the four spot as he’s had to lately.
“There’s multiple guys in the league starting with (Kristap) Porzingis that we guarded fairly well the other night, so I think it will be a little bit of the same,” said Sefolosha. “He’s a confident player for a young guy and he’s playing extremely well, shooting the ball, driving it with both hands. He’s a very talented, very versatile player and I’m sure tonight he’s going to have the ball in his hands a lot.”
After tonight’s game, the Jazz will celebrate Thanksgiving and get back to action Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.