Our defensive discipline has continued to improve and I loved how we shared the ball the whole game — you could feel it. —Quin Snyder
SALT LAKE CITY — For a couple of teams struggling with losing records this year, neither the Utah Jazz nor the Chicago Bulls were in a very good position coming into Wednesday night’s game at Vivint Arena.
The Bulls were playing their eighth road game of the month, their third in a row and had played a late game the night before in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Jazz were coming off a weeklong road trip back east and playing what coach Quin Snyder calls one of those dreaded “trap” games.
Something had to give and the Jazz handled the adversity better as they cruised to a 110-80 victory. The Jazz had one of their better 3-point shooting nights of the year finished with 14 of 35 from long range (40 percent) and 46.5 percent overall.
“I was pleased with how we came out tonight,” said Snyder. “Our defensive discipline has continued to improve and I loved how we shared the ball the whole game — you could feel it.”
With the win, the Jazz improved to 8-11 on the season with a pair of home games coming up, while the Bulls dropped to 3-13 on the season.
Derrick Favors who came in averaging 11.8 ppg on the year, nearly doubled his average with 23 points on the night on 8-of-11 shooting. Rodney Hood added 19, while Alec Burks scored 15 points, Joe Ingles finished with 12, and Jonas Jerebko and Ricky Rubio chipped in 10 apiece.
"I knew I needed to be aggessive for us to win," said Favors. "The guards did a good job finding me the ball. Everyone was being aggressive, playing their game, making their shots, playing their roles, so we got a win."
“Fave was in position where he had the opportunity to make plays in the pocket where he’s capable of making,” added Snyder. “He’s got to knock them down and by and large he has been.”
Rookie Donovan Mitchell had a rough shooting night, going 1 for 10 from the field, but his one basket was a spectacular one as he took a crosscourt inbounds lob pass from Raul Neto and went high for a resounding dunk. He also dished out a team-high seven assists.
"I missed a bunch of easy shots, but they knew I was trying to score, so I tried to do the opposite. A lot of times they're waiting for me to take the layup, so they all collapse on me and guys are wide open."
The Bulls had balanced scoring with Robin Lopez leading the way with 15 points, while Bobby Portis scored 14 and Justin Holiday and Kris Dunn each had 12.
Rookie Lauri Markannen, the former University of Arizona standout who started the game as the Bulls’ leading scorer (15.4 ppg) and rebounder (8.4 rpg), had a miserable outing, scoring just three points on 1-of-9 shooting.
The two teams played an even, clean first quarter with just three turnovers total and only five foul shots as the Jazz took a 25-24 lead behind Favors’ eight points. Both teams hit 10 of 23 shots for 43.5 percent.
The Jazz started to expand their lead in the second quarter as Hood and Thabo Sefolosha hit back-to-back 3-pointers. But the Bulls reeled off eight straight points to go back on top at 36-35 before Ingles sank another 3-pointer for the Jazz.
It was still close at 47-44 before the Jazz scored on four straight possessions and closed the half on an 8-2 run for a 55-46 halftime lead.
Utah kept it up in the second half, hitting three 3-pointers in the first four minutes – two by Jerebko and one by Ingles to push the lead to 14 at 67-53. The Jazz led by as much as 21 before finishing the quarter with an 87-69 lead.
Burks scored nine straight Jazz points in the fourth quarter as the Jazz went up 96-74 with 6:54 left and coasted from there.
"I thought we came out and had a solid first quarter," said Bulls' coach Fred Hoiberg. "They amped up the pressure, amped up their physicality and they just dominated us from that point forward."
The Jazz will take Thanksgiving off and come back for home games Saturday against Milwaukee and Tuesday against Denver before going back on the road to play the Clippers in Los Angeles on Thursday.