Monday, November 24, 2014
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Preview: Bulls at Jazz

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[November 24, 2014]  The Chicago Bulls have been a contender in the Eastern Conference for years, but always with the qualifier “if healthy.” The injury-depleted Bulls will try to avoid a third straight loss when they continue their road trip at the Utah Jazz on Monday. Taj Gibson was the latest to join the injury list when he was sent home from the road trip after suffering a sprained ankle in the third quarter of Friday’s 105-87 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Jazz had no answer for Anthony Davis in a 106-94 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday and have dropped five of their last seven while averaging just 94 points in that stretch. Guard Alec Burks has been held to 10 or fewer points four times in the last five games and bottomed out at two points on 1-of-11 shooting on Saturday. Burks will be going up against one of the few healthy Chicago stars left in guard Jimmy Butler, who has taken over as the team’s leading scorer with Derrick Rose battling various ailments.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, ROOT (Utah)

ABOUT THE BULLS (8-5): Rose is dealing with a hamstring problem and has missed eight of 13 games with hamstring and ankle issues while Pau Gasol (calf) has missed three straight and joins Rose as day-to-day. The one positive in Portland came from Nikola Mirotic, who registered career highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds against Portland. “(Mirotic) competed hard and is somebody who is a difference maker on the offensive end,” center Joakim Noah told reporters. “He can score the ball, he can shoot, can pass. He’s getting better every day. That’s good for us.”

ABOUT THE JAZZ (5-9): Utah fell into a 17-point hole at the half against the Pelicans after going down 53-32 at the break in a 101-88 loss at Golden State on Friday. “When you play like that at the beginning of the game,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder told reporters, “it takes too much energy to come back, and then you’re drained.” Gordon Hayward scored 31 points on Saturday but has sandwiched two 30-point outings around three games in which he totaled 37 points on 12-of-33 shooting.

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1. The Jazz snapped a six-game losing streak in the series with an 89-83 home win in overtime on Nov. 25, 2013.

2. Chicago G Kirk Hinrich (chest) sat out Saturday and remains day-to-day.

3. Utah PG Trey Burke is averaging nine assists in the last five games.

PREDICTION: Bulls 95, Jazz 88

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